Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 74

Charting a Course to Clean Water

GOOD MATE
Recreational Boating & Marina Manual

WWW.OCEANCONSERVANCY.ORG/GOODMATE

BE A LEADER IN
YOUR COMMUNITY
Talk about marine litter prevention
with members of your boating
community, from your neighbor
in the next slip to boating clubs
and marina managers.

OFFER YOUR TIME


Volunteer in boat and marina
cleanup programs, especially at
sites only accessible by boat. And
participate in Ocean Conservancys
annual International Coastal
Cleanup, the largest volunteer
effort of its kind for the ocean.

ACCIDENTS
HAPPEN
Be prepared with absorbent
pads to clean oil or fuel spills.
Dish soap doesnt work. It just
causes those liquids to sink
and contaminate the bottom.

Boaters Can Protect Our


Ocean and Waterways

SET THE PACE


TAKE IT ALL
BACK TO SHORE
Dont allow cigarette butts to go overboard;
small but significant, they are the most
prevalent marine litter item found during
the International Coastal Cleanup. Dispose
of them properly onshore.

FOR ADDITIONAL TIPS VISIT

www.oceanconservancy.org/goodmate

Recycle everything
you can, from beverage
containers to propellersnarling fishing line or
plastic bags.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The following individuals contributed text, photos, and technical and editorial expertise
to the production of the Good Mate recreational boating and marina materials:

Sara B. McPherson
Writer/Editor SBM Editorial
Sarah van Schagen
Senior Writer, Ocean Conservancy
Sonya Besteiro
Associate Director, International Coastal Cleanup, Ocean Conservancy
George H. Leonard, Ph.D.
Acting Director and Chief Scientist, Trash Free Seas
PSCM Philip T. Williamson II
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve (Retired)

Funding and support for Ocean Conservancys Good Mate recreational boating
and marina program has been provided by:

This document is designed to be an educational tool for recreational boaters;


marina owners, operators and staff; and others concerned about marine and
aquatic environmental issues. This document does not constitute a legal or
complete reference to the vast array of federal, state and/or local laws that may
be applicable to recreational boating or marine operations. We strongly suggest
that all concerned individuals contact the appropriate governmental agency to
determine legal requirements.

Goals and Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2


Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

CHAPTER 1: The Water Environment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5


 Potential Environmental Impacts
of Recreational Boating and
Marina Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

CHAPTER 2: Oil and Fuel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

CHAPTER 3: Sewage Pollution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

CHAPTER 4: Vessel Maintenance and Repair. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

CHAPTER 5: Marine Debris. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

CHAPTER 6: Stormwater Runoff. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

CHAPTER 7: Vessel Operation Damage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

APPENDICES
Appendix A:

National Response Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Appendix B:

Maintaining Boat Safety Equipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Appendix C:

Laws and Agreements Governing Water Pollution. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

INTRODUCTION
As a boater or marina operator, you are in a unique position to be a leader in water protection. Youve seen the impacts:
Quite quickly, a wonderful boating experiencethe scenery, the freedom and the time with family and friendscan take
a bad turn when discarded fishing lines or plastic bags wrap around a propeller, or large floating items scratch or damage
a hull. The moment your boat is damaged, you feel the repercussions not only in your leisure time but also in your wallet.
You also know firsthand the damage carelessness can inflict on rivers, lakes and the ocean where you cruise. Pollution
from cleaning products, sewage and oil or fuel take a toll on water quality. Pollution makes the things we love to do on
the waterswimming, fishing and watching wildlifesomehow less complete, less inspiring. Marine pollution poses
health hazards to humans as well.
The good news is that every boater and marina operator can take simple, practical steps to protect the waters that our
lives and recreation depend on. Those actions, multiplied across the entire boating community, add up.
Working in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and Coast Guard Auxiliary, Ocean Conservancy created
Good Mate, a public outreach program aimed at reducing and eliminating marine pollution and environmental
degradation. Ocean Conservancys Good Mate program gives you simple, easy-to-follow guidelines for green boating.
And by sharing what you learn from Good Mate with the greater boating community, you can bring even more people
on board and truly make a difference.

GOAL AND OBJECTIVES

ORGANIZATION

The Good Mate programs primary goal is to help


recreational boaters and marina staff gain a better
understanding and awareness of how they can help
protect waterways while enjoying their recreational
boating activities.

The Good Mate training manual is designed to give


recreational boaters and marina operators valuable
information necessary for understanding environmental
rules and regulations, techniques related to preventing
marine pollution and how to respond to pollution violations.

The long-term objectives of the Good Mate program are:


Helping boaters and marinas develop and incorporate
environmentally friendly management strategies in six
areas: oil and fuel, sewage pollution, vessel maintenance and repair, marine debris, stormwater runoff
and vessel operation.
Educating and training recreational boaters and marina
staff to be informed and educated stewards of waterways.
Helping boaters and marinas realize economic benefits
while promoting environmentally friendly procedures.
Fostering cooperation between groups interested in the
use, quality and enjoyment of local waters.
Keeping boating fun by maintaining a safe, pleasant
and clean environment.

The manual is divided into seven chapters: Chapters 27


are designed to be used independently or in conjunction
with the other chapters, depending on a boaters or
marinas specific requirements. This training manual
is also intended for use by marina supervisors when
introducing new staff to the Good Mate program.
Each chapter follows a standard sequence: first identifying
or defining the pollutant and explaining the potential
impacts to people, wildlife and the environment; and
then discussing potential management strategies and
alternatives. Any applicable regulations, resources and
references are included at the chapters conclusion.
For the purpose of the Good Mate program, the term
pollutant is defined as any substance, manufactured
item or living organism that is present in the waste stream
or marine environment in such a way that may be harmful
to the ecosystem or its inhabitants.
Although this manual contains information on laws and
regulations, it is not intended to serve as a source of
legal information. Marina owners and operators should
contact federal, state and local agencies for regulatory
information concerning marina and boating activities
in their jurisdictions.

THE WATER ENVIRONMENT

ECOSYSTEMS

Of all the resources on Earth, water is the most valuable.


Life began in water over 3.5 billion years ago, and life as
we know it can only survive with the presence of water.

OCEAN

Water is critical to practically every biological process


in plants and animalsour own bodies are nearly
two-thirds water.
Although water covers nearly 75 percent of the Earths
surface, nearly all of this water is either permanently
frozen or salty, leaving only one percent of the Earths
water fit for human consumption.1
Water also supports our livelihoods. In the United States
alone, commercial and recreational fishing, boating,
tourism and other coastal industries provide millions of
jobs nationwide and contribute billions to the U.S. economy.

Chapter 1 | The Water Environment

WATER

The vastness of our planets ocean is difficult to


comprehend. The enormity of these waters can only
be fully seen from outer space. The ocean covers over
70 percent of the Earths surface, contains 95 percent of
all water on Earth and contains 95 percent of the habitat
space on the planet. The ocean is home to the worlds
largest animal, the blue whale, as well as the tiniest
microscopic plankton. In 2010, the sea provided
7.9 billion pounds of fish for human consumption.2
The ocean touches the lives of virtually all Americans,
regardless of whether we live in a coastal community or
deep in the heartland. One out of six jobs in the United
States is marine related.3 In 2009, the ocean (and Great
Lakes) economy provided 2.6 million jobs and generated
$223 billion.4,5 Almost 80 percent of U.S. imports and
exports travel through seaports,6 and at least one out

of every two Americans lives within 50 miles of the


coast.7,8 Coastal and ocean commercial fisheries provide
$70 billion to the nations economy each year.9

COASTAL WATERS
Coastal watersareas of ocean extending from the shore
to about 5 miles out to seaare where most of us enjoy our
recreational activities, including sunning, fishing, surfing and
boating. Coastal waters are also very profitable. More than
80 percent of the U.S. economy comes from coastal states.10
Coastal watershed counties provided 69 million jobs and
contributed $7.9 trillion to the 2007 gross domestic
product.11 Coastal tourism and recreation supports 1.7
million jobs and pumps $70 billion into the economy.12
However, as more and more Americans live, work and
play along the coast, our activities and actions are
having greater environmental impacts. Today, over half
of the U.S. population lives along the coast.13 Along with
increasing coastal populations comes increasing coastal
pollution, mainly from polluted runoff. In agricultural
areas, pesticides, fertilizers and animal waste enter
waterways and are carried to the coast. In towns and
cities, oil, grease and other toxic chemicalsalong with
litter and debris from our streets and parking lotsare
carried off in storm drains, which bypass sewage plants
and directly enter our waterways.
Large amounts of sediment from construction sites
enter our waters each year, which can reduce vital
sunlight required by plankton, smother sea grass and
clog navigable channels. Sewage from aging and overloaded systems also enters our waterways. All of these
pollutants eventually reach our coasts. As a result, in 2013
there were 1,504 beach closures or advisories issued in
the country due to high levels of bacteria or pollution.14

Estuaries
Estuaries are special transition areas between land and
sea formed wherever fresh water from rivers, creeks or
streams mixes with salt water from the sea. These areas
include bays, lagoons, harbors, inlets, marshes, sloughs,
sounds or swamps. A few familiar estuaries include
Boston Harbor, Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and Tampa
Bay. These unique ecosystemsaffected by the tides but
sheltered by landhave many important environmental,
cultural and economic functions.15
Estuaries support tens of thousands of birds, mammals,
fish and other wildlife. They act as nurseries for many
marine organisms, including most commercially valuable
fish species. Estuaries support wetlands, which filter
water draining off the uplands. This reduces the amount
of sediments and pollutants that could enter the open
ocean and creates cleaner, clearer water.16 Estuarine
wetlands also protect the uplands, acting as flood control,
absorbing floodwaters and dissipating storm surges.17,18,19
Estuaries provide cultural, educational and aesthetic
benefits, and support a host of activities, including
boating, fishing, swimming and bird-watching.
Estuaries also support the economy in many ways. While
comprising only 13 percent of the U.S. continental land
area, estuary regions host 43 percent of the countrys
population, 40 percent of its employment and 49 percent
of the nations output.20 They provide habitat for more
than 75 percent of Americas commercial fish catch and
an even greater percentage of the recreational fish catch.21

Sea Grass Beds


Another special coastal habitat is the sea grass bed. Sea
grasses, such as eel grass, turtle grass and manatee grass,
are flowering plants that live entirely underwater in salt
water and brackish water. Sixty species are found worldwide.22 Like land plants, they produce oxygen used by fish
and other marine life. Their roots and rhizomes stabilize
the bottom sediment, much like land grasses slow soil
erosion. The leaves slow water flow, which allows silt to
settle on the bottom and trap fine sediments and other
particles. Both of these functions help maintain water
clarity, which increases the amount of light reaching the
sea grass beds.23
Sea grass beds also provide habitat for many fish,
crustaceans and shellfish. They serve as nurseries for
certain fishes and other marine life. The algae and small
animals that colonize the leaves provide food for juvenile
fish while sea urchins, green turtles and manatees eat the
leaves themselves. As the sea grass decays, it becomes
food for microbes, shrimp, fish and invertebrates. In
Floridas Monroe County, sea grass beds supported an
estimated $13.9 million in stone crab, spiny lobster,
shrimp, snapper and blue crab catch in 2010.24

Mangroves

LAKES
RIVERS
Rivers are bodies of fresh water fed by smaller tributaries
flowing from upland sources. All of this water is carried
downhill through river channels that are surrounded on
either side by an area known as the floodplain. A river
transports not only water from the uplands, but also
sediments and pollutants, and deposits them downriver
and onto the adjoining floodplains. There are more than
250,000 rivers in the United States, covering 3.5 million
miles.26 The Mississippi River, the countrys largest river,
carries an average of 436,000 tons of sediment every day27
and deposits 500 million tons of sediment downstream
into the Gulf of Mexico annually.28
Rivers are home to a large number of plants, animals,
fish, amphibians and reptiles. River habitat food webs
are greatly dependent upon the surrounding landscape
and can be severely affected by human activity. Detritus,
or decaying plant material, from the land is the primary
food source in a river system. Runoff carries detritus into
creeks, streams and rivers where plankton consume it.
The plankton are eaten by newly hatched fish, crustaceans
or water insects, which are themselves food for other
commercially and recreationally valuable fish species.
Increased runoff due to development or deforestation,
or runoff polluted by toxic chemicals, can harm the entire
riverine food web.

In the United States, lakes and reservoirs cover nearly


40 million acres.31 These freshwater bodies provide a
great deal of our drinking water and supply water for
industry, irrigation and hydropower. Lakes support
important food webs and are habitats for numerous
threatened or endangered species. Lakes are also the
foundation of the nations $19 billion freshwater fishing
industry; they support numerous tourism industries and
provide countless recreational opportunities.32

Chapter 1 | The Water Environment

Mangrove forests are also an important coastal habitat.


Mangrove trees thrive in tropical salty environments
with high rainfalls. They grow along tidal estuaries,
in salt marshes and on muddy coasts. They survive in
the salty water by excreting salt through their leaves or
by blocking the absorption of salt at their roots. Like
sea grasses, mangroves benefit the overall ecosystem
by trapping and cycling organic materials, chemicals
and nutrients. They also stabilize the coastline, reduce
the effects of erosion and provide shelter for fish and
other organisms.25

Rivers also provide a great deal of our drinking water.


Approximately 65 percent of Americans drinking water
comes from rivers and streams.29 Rivers are very vulnerable to polluted runoff. Pesticides, fertilizers and animal
waste enter our rivers from agricultural areas, while a toxic
brew of oil, grease and other chemicals enters rivers from
storm drains and parking lots in urban areas. The result?
According to the Environmental Protection Agencys most
recent river and stream assessment, more than half55
percentof our rivers are in poor condition and do not
support healthy populations of aquatic species.30

The largest of the lake ecosystems is the Great Lakes Basin,


the largest freshwater body in the world. This system
contains 90 percent of the United States supply of fresh
water, providing drinking water for more than 40 million
Americans and Canadians.33 The basin supports more
than 3,500 plant and animal species34 and provides critical
breeding, feeding and resting habitat for millions of
waterfowl, wading birds and many other migratory birds.35
Lake ecosystems vary enormously depending on
their size, depth and geographical location. Lakes have
traditionally been considered closed, balanced ecosystems
with water and nutrients constantly being recycled. Small
lakes can experience enormous daily and seasonal
environmental variations while large lakes present a more
stable environment for wildlife. Due to a lakes enclosed
nature, it is highly vulnerable to the pollution-generating
activities of humans.

Major environmental stresses to lakes include:


Excessive nutrient and organic input from fertilizers
and sewage
Siltation from improper erosion control from construction, agriculture or mining activities
Introduction of invasive species
Acidification from mining operations and the effects
from acid rain
Contamination from toxic chemicals such as mercury,
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides

POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF


RECREATIONAL BOATING AND MARINA OPERATIONS
Boating goes hand-in-hand with wildlife-watching,
swimming, fishing, snorkeling and divingand each
of these experiences is enhanced by the clean water
needed for a healthy ocean.
Unfortunately, mishandling a boat can harm ecosystems,
wildlife and water quality. Improper handling, irresponsible

or neglectful vessel maintenance, and poor refueling, repair


and storage habits all present environmental risks. Reducing
these risks not only helps preserve clean water and protect
the animals that live in it, but also keeps boaters and their
families safeand could even save money.
While marinas are vital to the boating industry and the
economy, the very nature of their business makes them
a potential source for some of the most damaging types
of water pollution. Fortunately, marina owners are in a
unique position to stop trash and other pollution from
entering the water.
Ocean Conservancys Good Mate manual fully outlines best
boating practices practical steps you can use today. The
manual breaks them down into six manageable chapters:
the first five examine pollutants that can enter our waters
through regular marina activities and the sixth addresses
environmental hazards while at sea. All sections provide
boaters and marina operators with many informative and
useful tips to be leaders in water protection.
Its time to look beyond the bow and realize you can make
a tremendous difference in the quality of your experience on
the water and in the health of the water we love so much.

REFERENCES
1. U.S. Geological Survey. The Worlds Water http://ga.water.usgs.gov/
edu/earthwherewater.html (May 23, 2013) Accessed August 7, 2013
2. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAAs State of the
Coast: Commercial FishingA Cultural Tradition http://stateofthecoast.
noaa.gov/com_fishing/ (December 13, 2011) Accessed August 7, 2013
3. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Oceans. www.noaa.
gov/ocean.html (no date) Accessed August 7, 2013
4. NOAA Coastal Services Center, NOAA Report on the Ocean and Great
Lakes Economy of the United States: ENOW Final Economic Report http://
www.csc.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/sites/default/files/files/1366381798/
econreport.pdf (April 6, 2013) Accessed September 9, 2013
5. National Ocean Economics Program. State of the U.S. Ocean and
Coastal Economies. pp. 10 and 21. viewed online at: www.miis.edu/
media/view/8901/original/NOEP_Book_FINAL.pdf (2009) Accessed
August 7, 2013
6. National Ocean Economics Program. State of the U.S. Ocean and Coastal
Economies. p. 8. viewed online at: www.miis.edu/media/view/8901/
original/NOEP_Book_FINAL.pdf (2009) Accessed August 7, 2013

8. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Ocean and Coastal


Resource Management, http://coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/partnership.
html (March 15, 2010) Accessed August 7, 2013
9. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAAs State of the
Coast: Commercial FishingA Cultural Tradition http://stateofthecoast.
noaa.gov/com_fishing/ (December 13, 2011) Accessed August 7, 2013
10. National Ocean Economics Program. State of the U.S. Ocean and
Coastal Economies. p. 8. viewed online at: www.miis.edu/media/view/8901/
original/NOEP_Book_FINAL.pdf (2009) Accessed August 7, 2013
11. National Ocean Economics Program. State of the U.S. Ocean and
Coastal Economies. p. 14. viewed online at: www.miis.edu/media/
view/8901/original/NOEP_Book_FINAL.pdf (2009) Accessed August
6, 2013
12. National Ocean Economics Program. State of the U.S. Ocean and
Coastal Economies. p. 6. viewed online at: www.miis.edu/media/view/8901/
original/NOEP_Book_FINAL.pdf (2009) Accessed August 6, 2013
13. Environmental Protection Agency. Basic Information About Estuaries:
Why Protect Estuaries? http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/nep/about.
cfm#protect (March 6, 2012) Accessed August 6, 2013
14. Environmental Protection Agency. EPAs BEACH Report: 2012
Swimming Season http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/beaches/upload/
national_facsheet_2012.pdf (June 2013) Accessed August 6, 2013
15. Restore Americas Estuaries. The Economic and Market Value of
Coasts and Estuaries (Executive Summary) www.estuaries.org/images/
stories/docs/policy-legislation/executive-summary-final.pdf (2006)
Accessed August 6, 2013
16. National Estuarine Research Reserves System. What is an Estuary?
Estuarine Ecosystems www.nerrs.noaa.gov/BGDefault.aspx?ID=403
(September 2, 2009) Accessed August 6, 2013
17. Environmental Protection Agency. Basic Information About Estuaries:
What Is an Estuary? http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/nep/about.
cfm#whatis (March 6, 2012) Accessed August 6, 2013

19. Restore Americas Estuaries. What is an Estuary? www.estuaries.org/


what-is-an-estuary.html (2009) Accessed August 6, 2013
20. Restore Americas Estuaries. The Economic and Market Value of
Coasts and Estuaries (Executive Summary) www.estuaries.org/images/
stories/docs/policy-legislation/executive-summary-final.pdf p. 2 (2006)
Accessed August 6, 2013
21. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Habitat Conservation,
EstuariesHabitat of the Month www.habitat.noaa.gov/abouthabitat/
estuaries.html (September 24, 2012) Accessed September 9, 2013
22. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Seagrass are flowering plants
that grow entirely underwater. http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/plants/
seagrass.html (December 8, 2011) Accessed August 6, 2013
23. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Seagrass FAQ
http://myfwc.com/research/habitat/seagrasses/information/faq/ (
1999-2013) Accessed August 6, 2013
24. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Mangroves and seagrass
provide food and shelter for a range of organisms. http://floridakeys.noaa.
gov/plants/msrole.html May 17, 2012) Accessed August 6, 2013
25. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Mangroves are trees and
shrubs that have adapted to life in a saltwater environment. http://
floridakeys.noaa.gov/plants/mangroves.html (December 8, 2011)
Accessed August 6, 2013
26. American Rivers. River Anatomy http://www.americanrivers.org/
rivers/about/ ( 2013) Accessed August 7, 2013
27. Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Taskforce. The
Mississippi Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB). http://water.epa.gov/type/
watersheds/named/msbasin/marb.cfm (no date) Accessed August 7, 2013
28. NASA Earth Observatory. Mississippi River Sediment Plume http://
earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=1257 (March 16, 2001)
Accessed August 7, 2013
29. American Rivers. Healthy Rivers, http://www.americanrivers.org/
rivers/about/healthy-rivers/ ( 2013) Accessed August 7, 2013
30. Environmental Protection Agency. The National Rivers and Stream
Assessment 2008-2009: A Collaborative Study fact sheet http://water.
epa.gov/type/rsl/monitoring/riverssurvey/upload/NRSA200809_
FactSheet_Report_508Compliant_130314.pdf (March 2013) Accessed
August 7, 2013

Chapter 1 | The Water Environment

7. Environmental Protection Agency. Basic Information About Estuaries:


Why Protect Estuaries? http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/nep/about.
cfm#protect (March 6, 2012) Accessed August 6, 2013

18. Environmental Protection Agency. Basic Information About Estuaries:


Why are Estuaries Important? http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/nep/about.
cfm#important (March 6, 2012) Accessed August 6, 2013

31. Environmental Protection Agency. Clean Lakes, http://water.epa.gov/


type/lakes/index.cfm (July 30, 2013) Accessed August 7, 2013
32. Ibid.
33. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes
Environmental Research Laboratory. About Our Great Lakes: Great Lake
Basin Facts, http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/pr/ourlakes/facts.html (no date)
Accessed August 7, 2013
34. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes
Environmental Research Laboratory. About Our Great Lakes: Ecology
http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/pr/ourlakes/ecology.html (no date) Accessed
August 7, 2013
35. The Nature Conservancy. Migratory Birds: Western Lake Erie Basin,
http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/
ohio/explore/western-lake-erie-migratory-birds.xml (September 16, 2011)
Accessed August 7, 2013

OIL AND FUEL

Chapter 2 | Oil and Fuel

WHAT IT IS AND WHERE IT COMES FROM


Fuel and oil spills can severely damage water quality,
wildlife and their habitats as well as local economies.
Petroleum is an oily, flammable liquid that may vary
in appearance from colorless to black. Gasoline, diesel
fuel and motor oil are all derived from crude petroleum,
depending on the refining process. Petroleum products
are so widely used in marinas that the hazards of these
materials are easily overlooked.
Gasoline is a highly flammable mixture of volatile
hydrocarbons with an octane number of at least 60.
It is suitable for use in spark-ignited internal combustion
engines. Dangerous fire and explosion risks are
a concern whenever handling or using gasoline.
Diesel fuel (fuel oil #2) is moderately volatile.
Ignition in diesel engines is based on fuel injection and
compression. Diesel fuel presents a moderate fire risk
to the handler but is more detrimental to the marine
environment because of its slower evaporation rate.

Motor oil is composed of a complex mixture of


hydrocarbons distilled from crude oil and is used
for lubrication and heat transfer. Most oils exhibit high
viscosity and low volatility.
Oil from recreational boats typically comes from dirty
ballast water, oil tank washings, bilge water, slops,
sludges, fuel residues and waste oil.
Refueling is how most fuel oil enters the water, but oil
can also escape during vessel operations. Reports on boat
engine pollution have been primarily focused on the effect
of two-cycle outboard engines. Two-stroke engines have
both intake and exhaust ports open simultaneously,
which allows raw fuel to escape through the exhaust port.
According to an Environmental Protection Agency report
released in 1991, about one-third of the fuel moving
through a two-stroke engine passes directly through the
engine unburned and into the air and water environments.
In an effort to reduce emissions and improve water and
air quality, the agency instituted a new rule in 1996 that
required engine manufacturers to replace carbureted

13

two-stroke outboards with cleaner technology by 2006


(40 CFR 91.104). According to the regulation, new engines
must reduce hydrocarbon emissions by 75 percent from
1996 levels. Boaters were not required to modify their
engines to meet the requirement.36
Discharged petroleum hydrocarbons can infiltrate the
entire water column, settling onto the bottom of a body
of water and the sediments, concentrating at the surface
or remaining suspended in the water. If left to disperse
naturally, some of the hydrocarbons will break up by
evaporating into the air.

IMPACTS
IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
All petroleum products can be toxic to
organisms in the water. They lower the waters
oxygen levels and generally degrade water quality. Both
fuel and oil contain toxic hydrocarbons and heavy metals
that can be deadly in even very small quantities. Refined
products such as motor oil and gasoline are more toxic
than crude oils because they are water-soluble. They enter
and disperse through the water column quickly (and are
thus more difficult to remove once in the water) and are
more easily absorbed by an animals soft tissues.
While almost everyone is familiar with the effects of large
disasters such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill, many are not as
familiar with the effects of smaller, common types of spills.
Yet every year Americans spill, throw away or dump out
more than 30 times the oil that was spilled in the Exxon
Valdez disaster in Prince William Sound! When spilled,

DO NOT
USE SOAPS
TO DISPERSE
A SPILLIT IS
ILLEGAL

a single quart of oil can create a two-acre oil slick (the size
of three football fields) that fouls the waters surface and
severely damages important aquatic organisms.
Many boaters have used dishwashing soaps to break
up the sheens or spills around their vessels, believing
that dispersing the oil is helpful. DO NOT use soaps
to disperse a spillit is ILLEGAL (see sidebar). Using
dishwashing soaps adds pollution (soaps) to the water
and sends the petroleum below the waters surface,
where it mixes into the water column and sinks into the
sediment, where it can remain for years. Using soaps also
prevents oil or fuel evaporation that would occur naturally
in an untreated spill.Petroleum also blocks vital sunlight
from reaching plants and photosynthetic plankton, and
disrupts the exchange of oxygen at the surface that
organisms need to breathe.
Studies show that sustained, low-level concentrations of
petroleum in estuaries have long-lasting harmful effects on
benthic (bottom-dwelling) organisms. In addition, research
indicates that fish and shellfish larvae are extremely sensitive
to even very low levels of toxic compounds. Thus, even
minor petroleum hydrocarbon pollution from boats may
contribute to already toxic concentrations of hydrocarbons
in the water column and sediments, and increase the
long-term effects on the environment.
Oil may penetrate the benthic zone (bottom sediment
area) through the stems and roots of plants, as well as
the burrows of worms, mollusks and crustaceans. These
organisms die in their burrows, coated with oil. When these
burrows collapse, oil is trapped in the sediments. Ironically,
some species thrive in the presence of oil, making it more
difficult for the less hardy animals to recover.
Coral reefs are sensitive underwater zones affected by
oil and fuel pollution. Reefs are home to thousands of
marine organism species, including many commercially
important fish and shellfish. During an oil spill, coral
cannot flee the contamination. And, although they can
move, coral reef fish are often site-dependent and will
refuse to leave their territory even if it is toxic.

IMPACTS ON SPECIES
Fish

14

The damaging effects of oil on fish depend


on their life cycle. Adult fish usually leave
contaminated areas, but immobile fish eggs are
vulnerable. Fish that hatch from oiled eggs exhibit
many developmental problems, including malformed
jaws, reduced heart rates and nerve damage. Mature fish
exposed to oil can experience fin erosion, skin sores and
liver damage. Oil contamination can also negatively affect
fish growth rates and reproductive capability.

A WORD ABOUT DISPERSANTS


Dispersants are specially designed oil spill products composed of detergent-like
surfactants (chemicals that break up oil) that have a low toxicity in the environment. Dispersants do not remove oil from the water but break the oil slick into
small particles that then disperse into the water.
When the oil is treated with this method, it initially disperses within the upper 30
feet of the water column. Tides and currents move the dispersed oil horizontally.
Usually dispersant use is reserved for deeper waters to ensure sufficient dilution
of the oil and to prevent impacts on bottom-dwelling organisms. Dispersant
effectiveness is dependent upon the type of oil and environmental conditions.
While dispersants typically have low toxicity, they can still have severe and
long-term effects on bottom-dwelling organisms.
The use of dispersants on oil spills is a highly regulated response tool and should
NEVER be used at the discretion of marina operators or recreational boaters.

Birds
Birds have natural oils that make their feathers
waterproof, which helps them regulate their
body temperatures by trapping warm air next to
the skin. Exposure to petroleum strips away the feathers
insulating properties, leaving the birds susceptible to
hypothermia. It also renders them unable to fly or swim.
Seabirds consume saltwater during preening, feeding and
drinking and use a special gland to extract the salt. Oil can
clog this gland and create a life-threatening situation for
the bird. Ingesting oil causes internal lesions and coats
the birds digestive tract lining, preventing food absorption.
While birds can survive exposure to small amounts of oil,
even very low chronic exposure can make the birds more
susceptible to extreme environmental conditions than
uncontaminated birds.

As with birds, marine mammals that ingest oil can


experience lesions on the liver and kidneys and stomach
bleeding. Inhaling petroleum vapors can also lead to
secondary infections such as pneumonia and brain lesions.

IMPACTS ON THE ECONOMY


The economic impacts of oil spills are difficult
to tabulate, but it is easy to imagine the effects
that oil- and fuel-polluted waters would have on tourism.
Coastal areas, inland lakes and rivers attract tourists
who come to experience the beauty of nature and enjoy
recreational water activities. Petroleum fumes, tar balls,
oily water and dead oiled wildlife on the water and shoreline
can ruin a highly anticipated visit. Oil and fuel pollution can
negatively impact all local businesses that rely on boating
and recreating visitors, including hotels, restaurants,
chartered fishing boats and scuba/snorkeling trips.

Chapter 2 | Oil and Fuel

In the United States, the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution
Contingency Plan sets limitations on dispersant use. Special federal approval and
permits are needed for their use, and dispersants cannot and should not be used
without the express permission of the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port.

Other Wildlife
Unlike fish, which can avoid some oil slicks
by swimming under them, mammals and
sea turtles must surface through the slick to
breathe. As a result, they can be coated and recoated in
oil many times before leaving the contaminated area.
This direct physical contact with oil can cause blindness
and clog breathing passages.
Sea otters rely on thick fur coats for temperature regulation,
and their fur must be clean and oil-free to insulate properly.
Oiled fur also becomes heavy, making swimming difficult,
and can cause the animals to drown.

Environmental damage from spilled oil and fuel not only


affects tourism, it also contributes to property damage
and loss as well. Coastal wetlands, sea grasses, shoreline
plants and reefs protect inland areas from strong winds,
storm surges and erosion. When compromised by
pollution, these coastal buffers become ineffective,
and inland properties will sustain more wind damage,
flood damage and erosion problems.

15

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT


Marinas and individual boaters must play a role in
reducing oil and fuel pollution. Most oil pollution
results from accidents and/or carelessness. Any
operation involving the handling of oil or fuel should
be accomplished in a way that minimizes the possibility
of accidental release. Incorporating best management
practices into daily marina operations and boating
activities can help ensure environmentally responsible
behavior. The following are some best management
practices that boaters and marinas can implement to
reduce oil and fuel pollution.

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR


BOATERS
Take steps to prevent overfilling fuel tanks. The greatest
potential for fuel spills typically happens during fueling
of inboard tanks. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends
filling inboard fuel tanks to 90 percent capacity to allow
for fuel expansion due to heat and help prevent accidental
overfilling and spills. Gently covering the air vent with
a rag during fueling can also absorb any overflow and
help prevent a spill. Boaters should consider purchasing
an overflow attachment for the fuel tank air vent. These
attachments act as fuel/air separators that release air
and vapor while also containing the overflowing fuel.
Since bilge pumps often cause the direct discharge
of oil and grease into the water, use oil absorbent pads
or booms in the bilges of all boats with inboard engines.
These pads can be found at local boating supply stores
or in boating catalogs. Check the bilge areas regularly
to maintain maximum oil absorbency of the pads and
dispose of saturated pads according to federal, state
and local regulations.

Regularly inspect your boats through-hull fittings such as


the depth finder transponder and cooling water intakes for
leakage to reduce the risk of sinking. A sinking vessel not
only poses a great safety risk to its passengers, but an
unmanned vessel sinking at its dock or anchorage can
introduce substantial amounts of fuel, oil and chemicals
into the water.
Recycle used oil and filters. If your marina does not have
a collection program, encourage them to set one up.
For more information on recycling used oil and filters,
see Recycling on page 19.

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR


MARINAS
Storage and Spill Prevention
Retail fuel sales constitute a major part of marina
business. Routinely inspect storage tanksit is both
a sound business practice and required by law. Diesel
fuel and gasoline are stored on-site in aboveground or
underground storage tanks. Aboveground tanks are
preferred because leaks can be detected earlier than in
underground tanks. An examination of tank integrity,
hose and nozzle condition, and secondary containment
equipment should be part of daily inspections. Measuring
the current tank level and comparing the number to sales
receipts can detect leaks in underground storage tanks.
Use automatic nozzle shutoffs to reduce the potential
for overfilling fuel tanks and stock fuel spill guard
attachments for your patrons. These inexpensive
containers attach to the boat hulls external fuel tank air
vent while fueling and collect any overflowing fuel from
entering the water.
Focus oil and fuel management strategies on the proper
transfer and containment of petroleum products in the
marine environment. The following are specific management practices that should assure the safe transfer and
containment of petroleum products:
Transfer equipment and hoses should be maintained
in good repair and operating condition.
Delivery nozzles should be hard connected and hung
vertically when not in use.
Pollutants remaining in a hose should not be drained
onto the ground or into the water.
Safety impact valves should be used on dispensers.
Marina operators should be present during fueling and
must have direct access to emergency shutoff devices.

16

Promote the use of automatic/back-pressure/shutoff


nozzles and fuel/air separators on air vents, vent
guards or tank stems of inboard fuel tanks.

Have an oil/water separator available at marinas to


pump oil- or fuel-contaminated bilge water into
treatment when oil absorbent pads become saturated.
Place containment berms around fixed pieces of
machinery that use oil and gas.
Provide stationary skids for fueling personal watercraft,
which will help to eliminate rocking and keep the vessel
level in order to minimize spills.
Provide signage and pamphlets that stress the dangers
from spills and fueling activities. Detail those precautions
that customers should take and note that customers may
be held responsible for cleanup costs. Boater workshops
could be held to reinforce these concepts.
Provide impervious fireproof containment trays for use
when filling small cans. If possible, product trays should
be immediately returned to the fuel tanks.
Provide secondary containment for piping (double-wall
piping) and a collection tray under the dispensing area.

Recycling
Oil recycling has tremendous environmental benefits,
including minimizing the disposal of oil to landfill and
surface waters, reducing future remediation costs and
lowering safety risks associated with storage. Used oil
from vessels can be recycled into fresh motor oil by
removing the additives and contaminants. Used oil
can also be reprocessed to produce a suitable fuel.

Set up an oil recycling program by collecting used oil and


bringing it to a designated collection site in the area. Many
service stations with repair facilities and oil change shops
will accept used oil for no charge. Marinas can find local
and state collection centers in their area online at
http://recycleoil.org or by contacting:
American Petroleum Institute
API Used Motor Oil Program
1220 L Street
Washington, D.C. 20005-4070
(202)682-8000

Chapter 2 | Oil and Fuel

Provide waste oil, used oil and fuel filter receptacles


that are clearly marked and subject to regular pickup.

Recycle used oil filters. Used oil filters are made of steel
and can be recycled into new steel products, such as cans,
cars, appliances and construction materials. Visit www.
filtercouncil.org/regs/index.html or www.aftermarketsuppliers.org/Councils/Filter-Manufacturers-Council to find
your states recycling regulations and to find a list of filter
management companies serving your state, or contact:
Filters Manufacturers Council
10 Laboratory Drive
P.O. Box 13966
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-3966
(919)406-8821
Post tips to help boaters correctly collect their used oil
for recycling, including:
Drain the oil from the boats engine into a pan that
holds twice the volume of oil in the crankcase. Draining
should be done when the oil is warm to ensure that any
sludge flows out smoothly. Allow the oil to drain until
the oil is flowing at a slow, intermittent drip.

17

Quick Review: Oil and Fuel


Diesel fuel and motor oil are not only toxic to
people, plants and wildlife, they can also block
life-giving sunlight in the water.
Boaters
Refueling is where most spills happen. The U.S.
Coast Guard recommends filling the tank only
90 percent to reduce the chance of spills from
overfilling.
Even small oil spills spell trouble for water
quality; bilge pumps often can discharge oil
directly into the water. Use oil absorbent pads
in the bilges of all boats with inboard engines.
Inspect through-hull fittings often. A sinking
boat is not only a safety risk for passengers, but
also leaks dangerous fuel, oil and chemicals into
the water.
Marinas
Routinely inspect storage tanks as required by law.
Set up an oil recycling program to deliver it to
a designated collection site like a service station.
Make it easy for boat owners to recycle their steel
oil filters, which can be made into new products.

Properly dispose of used oil and fuel-absorbent materials.


Before recycling or disposing of any used absorbent
materials, contact local authorities for disposal regulations.

REGULATIONS
A number of federal statutes and state regulations
govern the handling, dispensing and storage of fuel,
oil and associated hydrocarbon-derived products. Several
important regulations are briefly described below. However,
marina owners should be aware that they are responsible
for the activities that occur at their facility. It is strongly
suggested that all marina staff be made aware of applicable
existing federal, state, county, city and other regulations,
statutes and ordinances. It is recommended that
marina operators contact their local governmental entity
to determine applicable laws, rules, regulations and
ordinances with respect to proper disposal methods. For
more information on these and other laws governing water
pollution and other water-related issues, see Appendix C.

CLEAN WATER ACT


The Clean Water Act, which amended the Federal Water
Pollution Control Act of 1972, prohibits the discharge
of pollutants, oil, oily waste and hazardous substances
into U.S. waters. The Clean Water Act also prohibits the
use of detergents, soaps, surfactants or emulsifying
agents to disperse oil spills without the express
permission of the USCG. Violators are subject to
civil as well as criminal penalties.

MARPOL 73/78
Replace the drain plug and move the oil pan to
a location where you can safely pour the oil into
a container. Wipe up any drips with a paper towel.
Using a funnel, pour oil into a clean plastic bottle with
a lid that screws on tightly. (A plastic milk jug is ideal.)
Avoid using plastic bottles that were used for bleach,
cleaners or other automobile fluids (such as antifreeze).
They contain residues that contaminate the oil. Avoid
paint cans and other metal containers, or containers
used for gasoline.

Spill Control

18

Keep appropriate spill control equipment readily available at


the marina. Spill control equipment or spill kits should be
located in areas of potential releases, including fueling and
maintenance areas. These kits contain absorbent material,
brooms, shovels, large plastic bags and rubber gloves,
all of which can be found at local boating supply stores
or in boating catalogs. The equipment should be stored
in sealable containers (drums or pails) that serve as waste
containers after a spill.

Known formally as the International Convention for the


Prevention of Pollution from Ships at Sea (MARINE
POLLUTION), MARPOL 73/78 is the primary international
convention that addresses pollution prevention from
ships into the ocean. It contains six annexes, which cover
the following:
Annex I . . . . . . . . . Oil
Annex II. . . . . . . . . Hazardous liquid carried in bulk
Annex III. . . . . . . . Hazardous substances carried in
packaged form
Annex IV. . . . . . . . Sewage
Annex V. . . . . . . . . Garbage
Annex VI. . . . . . . . Air pollution
Annex I details the discharge criteria and requirements
for the prevention of pollution by oil and oily substances.
It contains technical guidelines and the concept of
Special Areas that are considered vulnerable to oil
pollution. Oil discharges in Special Areas are completely
prohibited, with minor well-defined exceptions.

THE ACT TO PREVENT POLLUTION FROM


SHIPS, THE OCEAN DUMPING ACT AND
THE REFUSE ACT
The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (33 USC 1901-1915)
implements MARPOL in the United States, particularly
Annexes I, II, III and V. The Ocean Dumping Act (33 USC
1401, et seq.) and the Refuse Act (33 USC 407) also address
discharges, so one law alone cannot comprehensively
address the subject. Each of these laws applies to different
aspects of the discharge or deposit of substances or
material deemed harmful to the marine environment
into waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

OIL POLLUTION ACT

Congress passed the Resource Conservation and


Recovery Act of 1976 in response to the growing concern
that human health and the environment were being
unnecessarily threatened by poor hazardous waste
management practices.
Under this law, state and local communities created
a number of programs to adequately dispose of hazardous
material. Gasoline and other fuels are ignitable and
therefore classified as hazardous materials. Used motor
oil is generally not regulated as hazardous waste, but does
require special handling. Check with a local solid waste or
environmental agency for fuel handling and for a list of
used oil drop-off sites.

Chapter 2 | Oil and Fuel

Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 in direct


response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Although
intended for large commercial vessels, the law does affect
recreational boaters. Specifically, the law states that in the
event of a spill, the owner or operator of a vessel can be
held financially accountable for cleanup costs and
associated environmental damage. In addition, civil
penalties of several thousand dollars can be imposed
against an individual for failing to report a spill.

RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT

19

RESOURCES AND CONTACTS


TO REPORT AN OIL SPILL OR HAZARDOUS
SUBSTANCE RELEASE
Call the National Response Center immediately at
(800)424-8802. See Appendix A for more details.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OIL, FUEL


AND HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL
Call your local department of environmental management
with questions about the proper disposal of oil, household
chemicals or other hazardous waste.
Visit the following websites for more information on oil
pollution and spill prevention:
Environmental Protection Agency Oil Spill Program
www.epa.gov/oilspill
Ocean Conservancy
www.oceanconservancy.org/do-your-part/green-boating/
U.S. Coast Guard
www.uscg.mil
www.homeport.uscg.mil
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
www.cgaux.org
U.S. Power Squadron
www.upsp.org

20

REFERENCES
36. Oregon State Marine Board. Outboard Motors & Pollution: Information
to Clear the Air online brochure, http://www.oregon.gov/osmb/library/
docs/epa-outboards.pdf (No date) Accessed August 6, 2013

SEWAGE POLLUTION

Chapter 3 | Sewage Pollution

WHAT IT IS AND WHERE IT COMES FROM


Sewage is human body and toilet waste. It is also known
as black water (in contrast, gray water is galley, bath
and shower water). Untreated sewage can enter the water
from faulty residential, municipal or marina septic
treatment systems or from direct discharges from
shoreside facilities and boats.
Vessel sewage is a problem when it is discharged into
the water without proper treatment. Discharge can
includebut is not limited tospillage, leakage or
intentional dumping. Sewage pollution degrades water
quality by introducing microbial pathogens into the
environment. It also increases biological oxygen demand,
an important water quality measure that refers to the
amount of oxygen available in the water for organisms
to use. The higher the demand, the less oxygen there
is in the water for animals to survive. Biological oxygen
demand increases in areas with many boats and little
water movement.

Like lawn fertilizers and manure, human waste contains


nutrients that can stimulate algae growth and deplete
the amount of oxygen in the water. While it is a repulsive
visual pollutant, the primary concern about sewage
pollution is its potential to introduce disease-causing
pathogens to swimmers and shellfish.
A single overboard discharge of human waste in shallow
enclosed areas like a bay can be detected across 1 square
mile.37 Although these single discharges have an impact
on the environment, the cumulative effect of numerous
single vessel discharges is even more harmful.

IMPACTS
IMPACTS ON HUMAN HEALTH AND SAFETY
Sewage contamination can pose a human health
hazard through direct exposure (swimming and
other water-contact activities in contaminated
waters) or through the consumption of contaminated

23

TABLE 1. TYPES OF MARINE SANITATION DEVICES AND THEIR TREATMENT SYSTEMS

TYPE I

Treats sewage before discharge by chopping or macerating. May add


disinfectant chemicals. Disintegrates solids before discharging into water.
Only allowed on vessels less than or equal to 65 feet.
Produces effluent having a fecal coliform bacteria count not greater than
1,000 per 100 milliliters; must not show any visible floating solids.

Provides higher level of treatment than Type I. Treats sewage by biological


means before discharging. Separates solids for incineration or pumpout.
Effluent is cleaner than Type I, but contains greater level of chemicals.

TYPE II

Usually requires more space and power than Type I.


May be installed on vessels of any length.
Produces effluent having a fecal coliform bacteria count not greater than 200 per
100 milliliters and suspended solids not greater than 150 milligrams per liter.
Does not allow the discharge of sewage. Includes recirculating, incinerating
devices and holding tanks.

TYPE III

Holding tanks are the most common kind of Type III marine sanitation
device used on recreational boats. Waste is stored until it can be pumped out
at a reception facility.
Holding tank waste is not treated even if odor-reducing chemicals are added.
Allows for Y-valve to discharge directly overboard while outside the 3
nautical miles limit.
May be installed on vessels of any length.

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency, Marine Sanitation Devices, http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/vwd/vsdmsd.cfm (July 16, 2012) Accessed July 30, 2013.
U.S. Coast Guard, Marine Sanitation Device: Vessel Requirements, www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg5213/msd.asp (April 13, 2013) Accessed July 30, 2013.

shellfish. Pathogenic contaminantssuch as streptococci,


fecal coliform and other bacteriamay cause diarrhea,
bacillary dysentery, acute gastroenteritis and skin rashes.
The most common pathogen found in sewage pollution
is a coliform bacterium (found in the intestines of all
warm-blooded animals).38 Children, the elderly and those
with weakened immune systems may have a more severe
reaction to sewage-contaminated water.
When fecal coliform levels exceed designated public
health thresholds, officials may close swimming beaches
and shellfish beds. Shellfish beds must close when a
fecal coliform bacterial count reaches 14 counts per 100
milliliters of water. A count of 200 fecal coliform bacteria
per 100 milliliters of water warrants closures of beaches
to swimming and other primary recreation.

24

Although few studies directly link the discharge of boat


sewage to disease incidence, studies conducted in Puget
Sound, Long Island Sound, Narragansett Bay, Chesapeake

Bay and the Florida Keys confirm that boats are a significant
source of fecal coliform bacteria in coastal waters, particularly in areas with large numbers of boats and little tidal
and wave action (such as bays, harbors and lakes).

IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT


Sewage, as well as gray water, has a higher
concentration of nutrients than is naturally found
in the aquatic environment. Small amounts of nutrients
are necessary for the healthy development of a natural
ecosystem, but when excessive nutrients are introduced
into an ecosystem, they can disrupt its natural cycles.
Algae are single-celled organisms that are the base of
most food chains or food webs in the aquatic environment. They use light for photosynthesis to produce their
food. Excessive nutrients act as a fertilizer and stimulate
algal growth, creating what is called an algal bloom. Once
the overabundant algae begin to naturally decay,

decomposition depletes the dissolved oxygen in the water,


increasing the amount of bacteria. This process, called
eutrophication, increases an ecosystems biological
oxygen demand and leads to foul odors and fish kills.
Sewage holding tanks on boats can also contain tank
disinfectants, deodorants or other chemicals that can
be toxic to the marine environment. Holding tanks may
contain high concentrations of toxic hydrogen sulfide. If
these toxic chemicals enter the water, they can accumulate
in the bottom sediment, where they contaminate bottomdwelling organisms. Over time, these toxins work their way
up through the food chain (a process known as bioaccumulation), eventually reaching people who eat contaminated
fish or shellfish.

IMPACTS ON THE ECONOMY

It should be noted that the regulations regarding


installation and use of Type III devices have caused great
frustration in the boating community. Many boaters have
felt that there are few, if any, convenient places to pump
out their boats and that marine sanitation devices are
unreliable. However, recent increases in government
funding for states to install or improve sewage facilities
are increasing the availability of pump-out facilities in
some states.
Boaters can have a tremendous impact on controlling
sewage pollution by:
Installing and properly using a Type III holding tank
to keep raw sewage and chemicals out of the water.

Sewage pollution can hurt a communitys economy


by impacting tourism and waterfront development.
Medical care and cleanup costs also become a factor
when sewage compromises human health and safety.
In addition, businesses lose revenue when shellfish
beds and fishing area closures suspend commercial
and recreational fishing activities.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT


Marinas and individual boaters must play a role in
reducing sewage pollution. Incorporating best management practices into daily marina operations and boating
activities can help ensure environmentally responsible
behavior. The following are some best management
practices that boaters and marinas can implement to
reduce sewage pollution.

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES


FOR BOATERS
Marine Sanitation Devices
It is illegal for vessels to discharge raw sewage within 3
nautical miles of the U.S. coastline and the Great Lakes.
While the United States does not require recreational
boats to have toilets, installed toilets that are not
equipped with a marine sanitation device and those that
discharge raw sewage directly over the side are illegal.
Any owner of a vessel with an onboard toilet is required
to install and use a U.S. Coast Guard certified marine
sanitation device, preferably a Type III holding tank.
(See Table 1 for more information.)

Chapter 3 | Sewage Pollution

Sewage makes water look bad and smell even


worse. Murky water, surface films and scum,
odors and sewage-related floatable debris diminish the
aesthetics of waterways. Because most marinas have limited
flushing capacity, sewage can linger in marina waters, making
boatingand even being near the watervery unpleasant.

Close any direct flow-through sewage system while


navigating within 3 nautical miles of the U.S. coastline.
If the system is equipped with a Y-valve, the valve should
be closed or set to the inboard position. In addition,
while cruising in a no-discharge zone, Y-valves on
marine sanitation devices must be locked in the closed
or inboard position.

FOR DIRECT DISCHARGE OF SEWAGE,


SOME BOATS ARE EQUIPPED WITH A
Y-VALVE, WHICH CAN ONLY BE USED
BEYOND 3 NAUTICAL MILES OF THE U.S.
COASTLINE. U.S. COAST GUARD
REGULATIONS REQUIRE THE
Y-VALVE BE SECURED IN THE CLOSED
OR INBOARD POSITION (BY A PADLOCK,
NON-RELEASABLE TIE OR OTHER
PHYSICAL BARRIER) WHEN
THE BOAT IS WITHIN A DESIGNATED
NO-DISCHARGE ZONE. NONCOMPLIANCE
MAY RESULT IN A FINE.

25

Learning how a marine sanitation device works,


making sure it functions properly and making
repairs when necessary.
Using onshore restroom facilities when at the dock.
If they are not adequate, boaters should encourage
the dock operator to provider appropriate facilities.
Bringing portable toilets ashore for proper waste disposal.
Using pump-out facilities when available and asking for
them if they are not.
Encouraging the development of more pump-out
stations as well as portable toilet dump stations
and learning how to use them.
No-discharge zones are areas where the release of raw
or treated sewage is prohibited. Designated no-discharge
zones are environmentally sensitive areas that require greater
protection, where even the discharge of treated sewage could
be harmful. When operating in a no-discharge zone, a Type I
or Type II marine sanitation device must be secured in some
way to prevent discharge. Upon meeting certain conditions,
a state can designate environmentally sensitive waters
within state waters (generally within 3 nautical miles)
as no-discharge zones. All completely enclosed lakes
are considered no-discharge zones.

Quick Review: Sewage Pollution


Think one boat doesnt make a difference? A single
overboard discharge of human waste in a shallow
enclosed area like a bay can be detected across
one square mile.39 Excess nutrients disrupt natural
cycles and pose a human health hazard.
Boaters
Install and use a marine sanitation device as
required by law.
Sewage and chemicals from holding tanks readily
contaminate water; patronize marinas that offer
pump-out services.
Bring portable toilets ashore for proper disposal.
Marinas
Boaters want pump-out service; provide portable
or stationary units or pump-out boatsor provide
information on nearby facilities.
Give boaters access to dumping stations for
disposal of portable toilet waste.

26

Provide clean onshore restrooms and encourage


their use.

Boaters can find out if there are any no-discharge zones in


their area by visiting http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/vwd/
vsdnozone.cfm and http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/vwd/
vs_nodischarge_map.cfm. Please note that the lists of
no-discharge zones are subject to change and should be
checked periodically.

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES


FOR MARINAS
Provide pump-out services (such as portable or
stationary units or pump-out boats) or provide
information on mobile services and nearby facilities.
Clearly label equipment and provide clear instructions
for its operation. Instructions should warn against the
disposal of any material other than sewage because
it can impair the ability of the system to treat waste.
Provide dump stations for proper disposal of portable
toilet waste. It is illegal to dump the contents of
portable toilets overboard within 3 nautical miles
of the U.S. coast.
To ensure proper equipment function, inspect and
maintain sewage disposal facilities regularly. Monitor
equipment for proper use.
Incorporate language into slip leasing agreements that
encourages the use of pump-out facilities.
Provide onshore restrooms and encourage their use.
Be sure they are adequate for the size of your marina.
Maintain and clean them on a regular schedule.
If you observe any boat not complying with water
pollution regulations, report it to the National Response
Center at (800)424-8802.

REGULATIONS
There are multiple federal and state regulations designed
to eliminate sewage pollution in U.S. waters. For more
information on these and other laws governing water
pollution and other water-related issues, see Appendix C.

CLEAN VESSEL ACT


Passed in 1992, the Clean Vessel Act provided $40 million
to states to construct and maintain pump-out and dump
station facilities and for educational outreach and public
awareness programs. The Act was reauthorized in 1998,
extending the grant program through 2003 and providing
an additional $50 million to states to create alternatives
to overboard disposal of recreational boater sewage.

CLEAN WATER ACT


The Clean Water Act, originally known as the Federal
Water Pollution Control Act, was designed to restore and
maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of
the nations waters. The act established a permit system
to limit industrial and municipal discharges and to protect
wetlands. States were also required to adopt water quality
standards with government oversight.
Section 312 of the Clean Water Act (33 USC 1322)
required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to
set standards for marine sanitation devices and charged
the U.S. Coast Guard with enforcing these standards.

FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION PREVENTION


AND CONTROL ACT

MARPOL 73/78
Known formally as the International Convention for the
Prevention of Pollution from Ships at Sea (MARINE
POLLUTION), MARPOL 73/78 is the primary international
convention that addresses pollution prevention from

Annex I . . . . . . . . . Oil
Annex II. . . . . . . . . Hazardous liquid carried in bulk
Annex III. . . . . . . . Hazardous substances carried in
packaged form
Annex IV. . . . . . . . Sewage
Annex V. . . . . . . . . Garbage
Annex VI. . . . . . . . Air pollution
Annex IV contains requirements to control sewage
pollution. As of November 2013, 134 nations have ratified
Annex IV.40 The United States has not ratified Annex IV
because existing federal and state regulations are more
stringent than the guidelines put forth in the current
version of Annex IV.

THE ACT TO PREVENT POLLUTION FROM


SHIPS, THE OCEAN DUMPING ACT AND
THE REFUSE ACT
The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (33 USC 1901-1915)
implements MARPOL in the United States, particularly
Annexes I, II, III and V. The Ocean Dumping Act (33 USC
1401, et seq.) and the Refuse Act (33 USC 407) also address
discharges, so one law alone cannot comprehensively
address the subject. Each of these laws applies to different
aspects of the discharge or deposit of substances or
material deemed harmful to the marine environment
into waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

Chapter 3 | Sewage Pollution

Congress passed the Federal Water Pollution Prevention


and Control Act as a declaration of policy against the
discharge of hazardous substances into our nations
waters. It addresses hazardous substances (such as
sewage) and defines and establishes federal standards
for marine sanitation devices. This legislation also
establishes guidelines for device certification and
designates proper use enforcement to the USCG.

ships into the ocean. It contains six annexes, which cover


the following:

27

RESOURCES AND CONTACTS


CLEAN VESSEL ACT GRANT PROGRAM
Marinas located on navigable fresh or saltwater bodies
that service recreational vessels are eligible to receive
funds to improve or install sewage facilities. For more
information, contact your local U.S. Fish and Wildlife
office or visit the Grants.gov website (www07.grants.gov/
search/basic.do).
Visit the following websites for more information on
sewage pollution and prevention:

Ocean Conservancy
www.oceanconservancy.org/do-your-part/green-boating/

U.S. Coast Guard


www.uscg.mil
www.homeport.uscg.mil

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary


www.cgaux.org

U.S. Power Squadron


www.upsp.org

28

REFERENCES
37. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Southeast District
Frequently Asked Questions: Marine Resources, http://www.dep.state.
fl.us/southeast/hottopics/FAQ/faqs.htm#BOATING (October 12, 2005)
Accessed September 10, 2013
38. Minnesota Department of Health, Coliform Bacteria, www.health.state.
mn.us/divs/eh/water/factsheet/com/coliform.html (December 23, 2011)
Accessed August 7, 2013
39. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Southeast District
Frequently Asked Questions: Marine Resources, http://www.dep.state.
fl.us/southeast/hottopics/FAQ/faqs.htm#BOATING (October 12, 2005)
Accessed September 10, 2013
40. International Maritime Organization, Status of Conventions, http://
www.imo.org/About/Conventions/StatusOfConventions/Pages/Default.
aspx (July 2013) Accessed July 26, 2013

VESSEL MAINTENANCE
AND REPAIR

In the Good Mate program, vessel maintenance


is defined as surface cleaning, washing, waxing and other
maintenance (such as regular inspections of through-hull
fittings). Vessel repair is defined as sanding, grinding,
painting, repairing plastic and hull scrubbing. This chapter
applies to marina and boat cleaning activities that take
place in or out of the water, but are not of an industrial
shipyard nature. Engine maintenance activities such
as changing oil and oil filters and fuel line repair are
discussed in the oil and fuel section.
Keeping vessels properly maintained and repaired
is an important part of being a responsible boater or
marina operator. Clean hulls help keep boats safe and
efficient. Foulingthe growth of small plants and
animals on a boats hullcan cause vessels to lose
maneuverability and experience lowered fuel economy.
Applying anti-fouling agents is a common preventative
measure boaters use to keep their vessels shipshape.

Tin compounds (also known as organotins) prevent


fouling on all types of hulls, but these materials also have
serious side effects. Tributyltin (TBT), one of the most highly
effectiveand environmentally dangerousanti-fouling
agents, was used on hundreds of thousands of recreational
vessels before regulatory controls were put in place in 1989.

Chapter 4 | Vessel Maintenance and Repair

WHAT IT IS AND WHERE IT COMES FROM

The Environmental Protection Agency eventually classified


these compounds as restricted-use pesticides and their use
has been prohibited on non-aluminum hulled vessels less
than 25 feet in the United States and other industrialized
nations since 1988,41 when Congress passed the Organotin
Anti-fouling Paint Control Act, which restricts the method
of application, type of applicator and size of vessel that may
use anti-fouling paints containing TBT.
However, TBT paints are still available in some parts
of the world. The International Maritime Organizations
International Convention on the Control of Harmful
Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships, which prohibits the use
of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints, took effect on
Sept. 17, 2008. As of June 2013, 65 signatoriesincluding
the United Stateshave ratified the treaty.42,43

31

improve anti-fouling performance and longevity and be


kind to the environment has led companies to develop
non-copper hull coatings consisting of organic biocides, zinc
biocides and non-biocide epoxy and silicone formulations.49
However, normal vessel maintenance involves more than
just painting the bottom of your boat. It includes keeping
your boat in good, safe operating condition, cleaning it
regularly, replacing and properly recycling your battery,
inspecting emergency flares yearly to ensure they work
properly and regularly inspecting for leaks of your vessels
through-hull fittings.

IMPACTS
IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
CONCERNED ABOUT THE HIGH
LEVELS OF COPPER FOUND IN THE CITYS
MARINA BASINS, THE PORT OF SAN DIEGO
TESTED AND EVALUATED
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF VARIOUS
NON-COPPER BASED ANTI-FOULING
PAINTS ON MARINE VESSELS FROM 2008
TO 2010. THE RESULTS OF THIS STUDY
WERE PUBLISHED IN A 2011 REPORT,
SAFER ALTERNATIVES TO
COPPER ANTI-FOULING PAINTS
FOR MARINE VESSELS.
IT IS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD AT:

http://bit.ly/17ZnRBY.
Using copper-based paints has become a very effective
way to prevent the growth of algae, barnacles and other
species on boat hulls.44 Typically, copper (in the form of
cuprous oxide) makes up anywhere from 20 to 70 percent
of the paints active ingredients.45 Copper paint works
because it is contact leachingcopper leaches out of
the semi-porous paint and dissipates metal on the hull,
repelling unwanted organisms.
The environmental impact of small quantities of copper
leaching from anti-fouling paints is unclear, but research
shows that copper in high concentrations is toxic.46
Due to water quality and environmental concerns, several
states are considering various bans on the use of copperbased anti-fouling paints. Washington state has enacted
legislation that will ban the use of these paints, effective
Jan. 1, 2020.47 California is considering similar legislation.48

32

In recent years, paint manufacturers have tried to reduce


the toxicity of marine paints while preserving anti-fouling and
textural benefits. The search for new materials that will both

Some methods of vessel sanding and cleaning


can slough off particulates into the water. These
particles can block sunlight from reaching the sea grasses
and plants that need it for photosynthesis. Fewer plants
and grasses mean less habitat and protection for the many
small organisms that depend on the grasses to thrive and
grow. Plants also hold sediments in place, so fewer plants
means that more sediment can wash away.
Cleaners and detergents may add nutrients (e.g., phosphorus,
nitrogen) to local waters. Excess nutrients degrade water
quality and promote excess algae growth, which leads to
algal blooms. An algal bloom is the massive reproduction
of tiny, single-celled algae. Increased algal growth leads to
increased competition for oxygen. An overpopulation of
algae eventually leads to a great decrease in oxygen in the
water that can suffocate fish and other species.

IMPACTS ON SPECIES
Many cleaning products are safe to use in
our homes because household wastewater
is usually treated at treatment plants before
being discharged into local waterways. When used on
boats, however, those same cleaners go directly into the
water without any treatment, which can have lethal effects
on marine life.
Cleaning products often contain toxic ingredients such
as ammonia, phosphate, chlorine and hydrocarbon
byproducts. Pollutants like these that persist and
accumulate in the food chain are the most damaging.
When exposed to chemical degreasers, finfish lose the
natural oils that facilitate oxygen exchange along their gills,
and they may suffocate as a result. Detergents reduce the
amount of oxygen in the water, impair gill function in fish and
reduce seabirds ability to stay warm and dry. Metal ions,
such as zinc and copper, can attach
to fish gill membranes and inhibit oxygen exchange.

The result is reduced appetite, poor swimming performance,


slow growth rate and reduced reproductive capability.
Anti-fouling paints leach toxins on a vessels hull to kill
attached organisms. However, the toxins may also be
absorbed by oysters, worms and other aquatic life and
be passed up the food chain to fish, birds and mammals
(including people). Toxins may also accumulate in bottom
sediments, where they have the potential to remix with the
water during subsequent bottom disturbances, such as
channel dredging or storms.50

ANY SUBSTANCE THAT IS HAZARDOUS TO


YOUR HEALTH CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO
MARINE ORGANISMS AND THE ENVIRONMENT. IF A PRODUCT RECOMMENDS THAT
USERS WEAR RUBBER GLOVES OR TAKE
SPECIAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS, IT IS
HARMFUL TO THE ENVIRONMENT.

following are some best management practices that


boaters and marinas can implement to reduce vessel
maintenance and associated vessel repair pollution.

Washing and Cleaning Your Boat

IMPACTS ON THE ECONOMY

To stop toxic cleaning products from entering the


nearshore waters, boaters should:

The closure of any inland or coastal waterway


due to chemical contamination can have a
devastating impact on local economies and hurt future
tourism trade. Cleaning up chemical pollution can take
years and cost millions of dollars.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT


Marinas and individual boaters must play a role in
reducing the pollution associated with vessel maintenance
and repair. Incorporating best management practices into
daily marina operations and boating activities can help
ensure environmentally responsible behavior. The

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES


FOR BOATERS

Rinse their boat only with fresh water after each use.
A good, freshwater rinse can help stop organism
growth and extend the life of the boats protective
paint coating. Rinsing after each use also reduces
the need for cleansers and heavy-duty products.
Use catch basins or other collection systems at the
posted wash areas of your marina. Such systems stop
paint resins, chips and other hazardous products from
entering the water. If your marina does not have such
a system, encourage it to install one.
Use traditional and less harmful cleaning methods,
including baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax
and old-fashioned elbow grease.
When selecting soaps and cleansing products, boaters should:
Ask marina stores to stock environmentally friendly
cleaning products as alternatives to harsh cleansers.
Boaters should purchase the least toxic product
available to do the job and examine the warning label.
If a product is hazardous to humans, it is hazardous to
the environment.

Chapter 4 | Vessel Maintenance and Repair

In addition to cleaning and painting activities, marine


vessels often use batteries that should be replaced
yearly (to ensure proper operation) and pyrotechnics
or flares that need to be inspected annually (to insure
their availability in an emergency). Because of their
toxicity, flares and batteries should be disposed of
only in approved containers and locations.

Look for the words phosphate-free and biodegradable


on the product label.
Buy only what you need. The smaller the product
container, the smaller the potential spill.
Keep open cleaning products away from the open deck.
Clean spills with a rag (instead of hosing), and make
sure you dispose of the rag safely or stow it to clean
other spills.

33

MARINAS SHOULD POST THESE TIPS (OR PROVIDE THEM AS


A FLYER WITH PURCHASES) FOR VISITORS AND CUSTOMERS:
Rinse and wash your boat with fresh water in a contained area every time you take it out of the water.
If your vessel is in the water, wash it by hand using fresh water. (Remember: more frequent cleaning
with less potent materials will be much kinder to the environment.)
Use phosphate-free, biodegradable detergents and cleaning compounds.
Wax your boat every year. A good coat of wax will prevent surface
build-up.
Remove the vessel from the water to perform above- and
below-waterline scraping, sanding, plastic repair, painting and
barnacle removal. Keep the vessel in a contained area.
Capture and contain particulate matter when working on your boat.
Perform maintenance activities in dry-dock or another enclosed area.
Dispose of batteries and flares properly. Do not discard batteries
or flares into a dumpster. They are toxic waste!

Share your leftover supplies with other boaters or


dispose of them safely and properly onshore according
to product labeling or the marina operator.

Sanding and Scraping Your Boat


Sanding and scraping a boat can release toxic paint and
varnish particles into the air and water around you. It is
important boaters contain these particulates as much
as possible. The following are some tips for do-it-yourself
boat scrapers:
Conduct all sanding and scraping on shore, away from
the water and preferably in a dedicated work area.
Use a vacuum sander, which is a tool that collects and
stores paint particles before they get into the water
(or into your eyes and lungs).
Lay tarps under the work area to catch loose particles
and use a vacuum to remove the loose material.
If a vacuum is not available, collect the scrapings
in a sealed container and dispose of it on shore.

Painting Your Hull

34

Keeping a boat bottom free of algae, barnacles and other


growth ensures smooth, fuel-efficient boat operation.
Consider using some of the less-damaging boat paint
alternatives. All paintwork should be conducted on shore in
a dedicated work area using a tarp to capture drips and spills.

Encourage other boaters to learn more about the laws


applying to boat bottom paints as well as alternative
painting products by contacting the Environmental
Protection Agency, their state boating agency and their
local marine supply store.
Other ways to slow organism growth:
Rinse and wipe the hull with fresh water after each use.
Apply a good coat of wax with elbow grease each
session.
Dry dock or haul the boat out after each use; this may
completely eliminate the need for anti-fouling paints.

Maintaining Boat Operations


Performing routine maintenance on a boat and its
engine can improve boat and engine operation. A clean,
well-operating boat lasts longer and reduces the amount
of pollutants entering the water. Boaters can keep their
vessels in top working condition by:
Tuning the engine regularly. In turn, the engine will operate
more cleanly, increase in fuel efficiency and last longer.
Steam-cleaning the engine in a dedicated service area,
rather than using harmful engine cleaners.

Inspecting the fuel lines routinely. Failure to properly


maintain a fuel system can lead to catastrophic explosion. Unleaded fuels can contain alcohol, which corrodes
rubber hoses. If there are signs of deteriorationdry,
cracked areas or soft, tender spotsreplace the hoses
immediately with fresh ones marked USCG Type A1.
The Coast Guard has also approved an alcohol resistant
fuel hose: SAEJ1527.51
Regularly inspecting through-hull fittings, such as the
depth finder transponder and cooling water intakes,
for leakage. A sinking vessel not only poses a great safety
risk to its passengers, but an unmanned vessel sinking
at its dock or anchorage can introduce a substantial
amount of fuel, oil and chemicals into the water.

In outdoor work areas, the work must be performed


over tarps if there is no hard surface to aid cleanup.
Sweep and vacuum the tarps frequently. Cover storm
drains near the work area to prevent waste from being
carried into marina waters by the storm water. Vacuum
hull maintenance areas regularly to remove trash,
sanding, paint chips, etc.
Install water catch basins or other collection systems
in boat-wash areas.
Scrub only hard-finish bottom paints in the water.
Scrubbing and using abrasives on boat bottoms while
in the water can create pollution. (A plume of blue or
red when a bottom is being scrubbed means that
copper particles are being released into the water
column.) Gently sponging soft-painted bottoms will
release less paint and lengthen the life of the paint job.

Disposing of all maintenance products and chemicals


properly. Do not throw them in the water or down a
storm drain.
Learning more about hazardous waste disposal by
contacting the city, county or state boating agency
and department of environmental quality.

Maintaining Boating Safety Equipment


Boaters who do not maintain their equipment not only put
themselves at risk, they put others at risk, too. As a result,
boaters should ensure that their boat and equipment are
properly maintained at all times. Take care when disposing
of batteries and flares. Lead acid batteries should be
delivered to a lead acid battery retailer or wholesaler for
proper disposal, or to a collection or recycling facility
authorized by the Environmental Protection Agency or
your states department of environmental quality. Expired
marine flares can be kept on board as backups for new
flares (store old and new flares separately) or donated to
vessel safety training programs. If they must be disposed
of unused, they should be treated as hazardous waste.
Contact the appropriate agency in your state for proper
disposal requirements.

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES


FOR MARINAS
Common management strategies that are relatively easy
to implement include the following:
Conduct all repair work and maintenance in designated
work areas. These areas should be surrounded by
berms and have an impervious floor to contain spills
and make sweeping up easier. Sweep the work area

Chapter 4 | Vessel Maintenance and Repair

Using non-toxic bilge cleaners. Many bilge cleaners are


harmful to the environment since they merely break
down oil into microscopic fragments that are pumped
out in the bilge water. Several non-toxic bilge cleaners
actually contain microbes that digest hydrocarbons
rather than emulsify them. A marine dealer should
have more product information.

frequently. Operations such as pressure-washing,


steam-cleaning, sanding, painting, repairing and
constructing fiberglass, varnishing and woodworking
are best suited for these areas.

Pay special attention to traditional teak cleaners, which are


caustic. They contain strong chemicals for bleaching the
teak. Mild soaps, scrub brushes and water wash-downs
will keep teak decks non-skid and clean.
Reuse thinners and solvents whenever possible. Let the
particles settle and then drain off the clear solvent for
reuse. The sludge is hazardous waste and should be
disposed of according to local regulations.
Plastic sheeting used to protect surfaces should also be
dried out and reused rather than discarded.
Encourage boaters to read product warning labels and
wear appropriate clothing and equipment to protect
their skin, lungs and eyes from injury.

35

Also:
Make environmentally friendly cleaning and maintenance
products available to your customers.
Provide clearly marked bins for boaters to deposit
batteries and unusable flares outdoors and empty
the bin regularly.
Educate boaters on the potential harm cleaners and
detergents containing ammonia, bleach, sodium
hypochlorites and petroleum distillates can cause.

REGULATIONS
The primary regulations governing vessel maintenance
activities focus on the use and disposal of cleaning
materials and associated paint and repair work. For more
information on these and other laws governing water
pollution and other water-related issues, see Appendix C.

Quick Review:
Vessel Maintenance and Repair
Sanding, cleaning, painting and degreasing boats
can pose major threats to our waters. Particles of
dust and paint in the water can block life-giving
sunlight, and toxic substances from cleaners and
anti-fouling compounds can sicken or kill marine life.
Boaters
Use non-hazardous materialsif its hazardous
to you, its hazardous to the environment.
Old batteries can leach dangerous lead or
cadmium, and expired marine flares contain
toxic materials, too, so dispose of them properly.
When you paint your hull, choose products that
are less dangerous to the environment than others.
Marinas
Provide dedicated work areas for basic
maintenance. Make sure the floor is impervious,
and sweep or vacuum often. Outside, use tarps
to catch debris from sanding and scraping.
Install water catch basins or other collection
systems in boat-washing areas.
Offer environmentally friendly cleaners,
and post tips and rules to reduce damage
to local waterways.

36

CLEAN AIR ACT


Under the Clean Air Act, marinas need to be cognizant
of volatile organic compound limits for marine paints.
Boaters should use and marinas should stock only marine
paints that comply with federal, state and local limits.
It is recommended that marina operators contact their
respective state and local governments prior to boat
painting, as well as city and county governments and local
waste haulers, to determine restrictions or limits on waste
disposal options.

CLEAN WATER ACT


The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of harmful
quantities of pollution into waters of the United States,
and each state has its own specific regulations.

ORGANOTIN ANTI-FOULING PAINT


CONTROL ACT
The 1988 Organotin Anti-fouling Paint Control Act (and
local solid waste statutes) governs the disposal of used
cleaning materials, empty containers and unused paints.

TO REPORT POLLUTION

WASTE DISPOSAL INFORMATION

Report accidents, spills or suspicious activities to the


National Response Center at (800)424-8802

Call your local solid waste department if you have


questions about solid waste disposal, waste reduction,
household chemical disposal or recycling.

Visit the following websites for more information on boat


maintenance pollution and prevention:

HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL


INFORMATION

Ocean Conservancy

The Environmental Health and Safety Online site,


www.ehso.com/EHSO_HazWaste.htm, has links
to state agencies and contacts.

U.S. Coast Guard

AIR AND WATER EMISSIONS

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

Additional information on proper management strategies


to reduce particle emissions to the environment may
be obtained by contacting your local department of
environmental quality.

Chapter 4 | Vessel Maintenance and Repair

RESOURCES AND CONTACTS

www.oceanconservancy.org/do-your-part/green-boating/

www.uscg.mil
www.homeport.uscg.mil

www.cgaux.org

U.S. Power Squadron


www.usps.org

37

REFERENCES
41. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs
Biennial Report for FY 1998 and 1999. http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/
annual/98-99/98-99annual.pdf (December 1999) Accessed
July 30, 2013
42. International Maritime Organization, Status of Conventions. http://
www.imo.org/About/Conventions/StatusOfConventions/Pages/Default.
aspx (June 30, 2013) Accessed July 30, 2013
43. International Maritime Organization, International Convention on the
Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships, http://www.imo.org/
about/conventions/listofconventions/pages/international-convention-onthe-control-of-harmful-anti-fouling-systems-on-ships-(afs).aspx (2013)
Accessed July 30, 2013
44. Association of Marina Industries, Copper Based Bottom Paints
http://marinaassociation.org/government/current-issues/copper-basedbottom-paints ( 2009-2013) Accessed July 30, 2013
45. Lydecker, Ryck. Is Copper Bottom Paint Sinking? BoatUS Magazine
online (February 2012) Accessed July 30, 2013
46. Environmental Protection Agency, 2007 Update for Ambient Water
Quality Criteria for Copper http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/
standards/criteria/aqlife/copper/fs-2007.cfm (February 2007) Accessed
July 30, 2013
47. Lydecker, Ryck. Is Copper Bottom Paint Sinking? BoatUS Magazine
online (February 2012) Accessed July 30, 2013
48. Ibid.
49. Environmental Protection Agency, 2007 Update for Ambient Water
Quality Criteria for Copper http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/
standards/criteria/aqlife/copper/fs-2007.cfm (February 2007) Accessed
July 30, 2013
50. Orange County Coastkeeper, Lower Newport Bay Copper/Metals
Marina Study: Final Report. http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/santaana/
water_issues/programs/tmdl/docs/newport/finalcufinal_report.pdf (July
2007) Accessed July 31, 2013
51. U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division, Boatbuilders Handbook:
Equipment Standards, Boating Safety Resource Center www.uscgboating.
org/regulations/boatbuilder_s_handbook/fuel_standards_parti.aspx
(March 20, 2013) Accessed August 1, 2013

38

MARINE DEBRIS

WHAT IT IS AND WHERE IT COMES FROM


Quite simply, marine debris is trash in the water.
Technological advances have led to the creation of very
durable products; unfortunately, many of these products
fail to decomposeor do so extremely slowly. As a result,
plastic and other trash can remain in the environment for
hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Cigarette filters, food
wrappers, bottles, cans, fishing gear and chemical drums
are only a few of the manufactured items trashing the ocean.
Ocean trash is a serious pollution problem that affects
the health of people, wildlife and local economies. Trash
in the water and on the shore can kill marine wildlife, injure
swimmers and beachgoers and ensnare boat propellers.

IMPACTS
Ocean trash is not confined by geographical boundaries.
Winds and currents can carry trashmuch of it made of
lightweight, buoyant and durable plasticthousands of
miles, impacting people, marine wildlife and the environment along the way.

take more than 500 years to break downif ever.54 Some


animals accidentally eat pieces of plastic, which can have
deadly results.
Its difficult to estimate the total number of debris-related
wildlife injuries and deaths. However, entanglement and
ingestion incidents have been reported for at least 267
animal species, including approximately 43 percent of
the worlds marine mammals, 44 percent of the worlds
seabirds and all but one of the seven sea turtle species.55

Impacts on the Economy

IMPACTS ON HUMAN HEALTH AND SAFETY

Marine debris can damage boats by wrapping


around propellers or clogging water intakes,
resulting in immediate and direct economic effects.
Increased beach cleaning costs can also deplete a coastal
communitys finances. The indirect costs may be even greater.

Marine debris poses serious threats to human


health and safety. Broken glass, metal pieces
and other sharp objects in the sand can injure
children and other beachgoers. Medical waste that is
flushed down sewers and into coastal areas is a serious
health hazard. In the water, monofilament line can wrap
around a vessels propeller and possibly stall the boat,
leaving the occupants stranded at sea.

Ocean trash is ugly and dangerous. Its presence


discourages people from participating in coastal
activities, such as fishing, boating, swimming or
beach-going. It even repels tourists from visiting coastal
areas. Coastal communities rely on seaside businesses,
and the clientele that support them, for their economic
survival. Clean beaches promote tourism and economic
health. Trashed beaches do just the opposite.

IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

The properties that make plastic so useful on


landlike being lightweight, durable and water
resistantmake it a serious hazard when it enters the
water improperly. Monofilament fishing line, balloon
ribbons, ropes and netting can entangle wildlife.
Monofilament fishing line is an especially lethal type
of debris. Studies indicate that approximately 700 brown
pelicans die in Florida from monofilament entanglement
each year.53 Data indicates that monofilament line may

Ocean trash is an entirely preventable problem, but


it must be stopped at the source. Marinas and boaters
must play a role in reducing the amount of marine debris
that enters the water. Incorporating best management
practices into daily marina operations and boating
activities can help ensure environmentally responsible
behavior. The following are some best management
practices that boaters and marinas can implement
to reduce ocean trash.

Chapter 5 | Marine Debris

Much of the debris consists of disposable products


that find their way to the water through improper disposal
or dumping. Others escape from waste management
systems. Much of the trash found in the ocean originated
on land. According to the National Marine Debris
Monitoring Program, nearly half of the debris found on
U.S. beaches came from land-based sources, 19 percent
came from ocean-based sources and the remaining 33
percent comes from general sources that could be
considered land- or ocean-based.52

41

Do not discharge plastics or other solid debris overboard.


It is illegal for any U.S. boat (anywhere in the world) or any
foreign boat in U.S. waters to dispose of plastics or most
other solid debris by discharging it overboard. (For more
information on the specific regulations, see Regulations
on page 43.)
Once back on shore, boaters and marinas should follow
the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce the
amount of disposable products you buy or stock.
Pay particular attention to unnecessary packaging.
Purchasing items in bulk or in concentrated form can
reduce the amount of discarded packaging. Marinas
can try to avoid purchasing double-packaged items when
ordering maintenance, store or facility supplies. Reuse
materials whenever possible, either for their original
purpose or a new one (e.g., using plastic milk jugs as
bailers). Recycle discarded materials when possible,
and properly dispose of items that cannot be recycled.

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES


FOR BOATERS
Boaters can help stem the tide of marine debris by:
Using garbage facilitiestrash cans, dumpsters
and recycling binsat your boatyard or marina. If the
garbage facilities are inadequate, request better services
from the facility manager.
Promoting and utilizing waste and oil recycling at your
dock, marina or port.

Ensuring no trash is discarded, washed or blown


overboard. If an item is blown overboard, go back
and retrieve it. (Use this opportunity to practice
man-overboard drills.)
Practicing plus-one boating. Bring back everything
you take out, plus one piece of litter from someone
elses wasteful wake.
Participating in a beach cleanup, especially in remote
areas that are only accessible by boat. For information
on the International Coastal Cleanup, visit http://www.
oceanconservancy.org/cleanup
Reporting any illegal dumping you witness to the
National Response Center at (800)424-8802.
Reminding others that plastic garbage generated aboard
a vessel should be brought ashore for proper disposal.

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES


FOR MARINAS
Set up recycling bins for staff and customers and
ensure that they are clearly labeled. Check with your
local department of environmental quality to find out
what materials are recycled in your area.
Provide adequate and convenient trash cans and
garbage receptacles for items that cannot be recycled.
Set up special collection bins for hazardous materials
(e.g., batteries, flares and other items containing metal
and/or chemical components). Your local solid waste
management authority can provide specific regulations.

REPRODUCE THE FOLLOWING TIPS ON POSTERS OR AS


COUNTERTOP DISPLAYS FOR BOATERS AT YOUR MARINA:
You are the Captain: Do not allow any debris to be thrown overboard. You can be fined for violating the law.
Bring all trash back for proper onshore disposal after any boating, fishing or beach outing.
Do not throw cigarette filters overboard. Filters are non-biodegradable, contain toxic
chemicals and can remain in the environment for years.
Purchase reusable products or containers instead of disposable goods.
Save and reuse plastic bags when possible.
Recycle your plastic, metal, glass and paper products at the marina or other facility.
Dispose of monofilament fishing line into trash cans or other receptacles. DO NOT
throw them overboard.

42

Educate all passengers on the law as well as on the impacts ocean trash can have on the
marine environment.

Quick Review: Marine Debris


Trash in the water isnt just an eyesore; it damages
boats and threatens the wellbeing of marine wildlife.
It also undermines tourism and economic activities
that create jobs. But theres good news. Litter in the
water is entirely preventable.
Boaters
Bring your food containers, cigarette butts
and other trash back to shore and recycle
when possible.
Let your marina know if it can provide better
waste collection facilities.

Known formally as the International Convention


for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships at Sea
(MARINE POLLUTION), MARPOL 73/78 is the
primary international convention that addresses
pollution prevention from ships into the ocean.
It contains six annexes, which cover the following:
Annex I . . . . . . . . . Oil
Annex II. . . . . . . . . Hazardous liquid carried in bulk
Annex III. . . . . . . . Hazardous substances carried
in packaged form
Annex IV. . . . . . . . Sewage
Annex V. . . . . . . . . Garbage
Annex VI. . . . . . . . Air pollution
Annex V prohibits the disposal of all plastics at sea.
It also limits the ocean discharge of other types of
garbage at specified distances from land. Annex V
restrictions apply to all ocean-going vessels, recreational
and commercial. As of January 2013, revisions to Annex V
prohibit the discharge of all garbage into the sea, except
under special circumstances.56

Marinas
Set up recycling bins for staff and customers,
and talk about the dangers of marine debris.
Provide special collection bins for hazardous
items like batteries and flares to keep them from
being discarded in the water.
Provide plenty of containers for safely collecting
cigarette butts, the number one marine litter
item found worldwide during the International
Coastal Cleanup.

MARINE PLASTIC POLLUTION RESEARCH


AND CONTROL ACT
Congress passed the Marine Plastic Pollution Research
and Control Act, which implemented MARPOLs Annex V
in U.S. waters. This law specifically prohibits U.S vessels
from throwing or disposing of plastics overboard
anywhere in the world and prohibits foreign or domestic
vessels from disposing of plastics within U.S. waters.
The law also regulates the disposal of non-plastic items
depending on a vessels distance from shore.

Chapter 5 | Marine Debris

Boaters are known for being good stewards and


routinely picking up trash. For greater impact, raise
awareness and collect data on whats out there by
participating in Ocean Conservancys International
Coastal Cleanup
(www.oceanconservancy.org/cleanup)

MARPOL 73/78

Help larger or commercial vessels segregate their


waste into recyclable components; this will improve
the onboard waste management process and reduce
the vessels waste disposal costs in port.
Ensure that your customers know how to reduce and
eliminate marine debris.

REGULATIONS
There are several federal and state regulations designed
to control, monitor and enforce the ban on ocean trash.
In the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard is the primary
enforcement agency, but individuals may also contact local
marine patrol units if they see or suspect a violation. For
more information on these and other laws governing water
pollution and other water-related issues, see Appendix C.

43

The law requires all vessels 26 feet or longer to display


a MARPOL placard, which illustrates the distances from
shore and the materials that may be thrown overboard.
Vessels that are 40 feet or longer that are engaged in
commerce or have a galley and berthing area must also
have a waste management plan and logbook on board.
Waste management plans are designed to inform the crew
about standard refuse practices applicable to the vessel.

Visit the following websites for more information on


ocean trash and marine debris:

RESOURCES AND CONTACTS

U.S. Coast Guard

SOLID WASTE AND RECYCLING


INFORMATION

International Coastal Cleanup


www.oceanconservancy.org/cleanup

Ocean ConservancyTrash Free Seas


www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/marine-debris/

www.uscg.mil
www.homeport.uscg.mil

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary


www.cgaux.org

Call your local solid waste operations department


if you have questions about the disposal of solid waste,
used oil, household chemicals or recycling.

U.S. Power Squadron


www.usps.org

SIX-PACK RING RECYCLING


Contact the marina, local recycling center or ITW Hi-Cone
to recycle plastic six-pack ring holders. ITW Hi-Cone
produces six-pack rings and sponsors the Ring Leader
Recycling Program. You can bring six-pack rings to a local
recycling center or mail them to ITW Hi-ConeRing Leader
Program, 1140 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Itasca, IL 60143-9918.
Visit www.ringleader.com for more information.

TO REPORT POLLUTION
If you observe any boat not complying with water
pollution regulations, contact the National Response
Center at (800)424-8802.

SEA PARTNERS CAMPAIGN


Sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard
Auxiliary, the Sea Partners Campaign is an education and
outreach program designed to raise community awareness of marine debris and pollution issues and provide
information on relevant laws and regulations.
http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg544/seapartners.asp

MARPOL PLACARDS
To obtain a MARPOL placard online, visit the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations Marine
Debris website (http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/outreach/
posters.html)

44

REFERENCES
52. Environmental Protection Agency. National Marine Debris Monitoring
Program, http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/marinedebris/nmdmp.cfm
(March 6, 2012) Accessed July 24, 2013
53. Lollar, Kevin. Birds at risk of death from carelessly abandoned fishing
line, ABC 7 WWSB MySuncoast http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/
earth_news/birds-at-risk-of-death-from-carelessly-abandoned-fishingline/article_c8cbc370-e3ce-11e2-b1ac-0019bb30f31a.html (July 31,
2013) Accessed August 5, 2013
54. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Why a
Monofilament Line Recycling Program? http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/
fishing/fishing-line-recycling/why/ ( 2013) Accessed August 5, 2013
55. Environmental Protection Agency, Marine Debris in the North Pacific:
Frequent Questions http://www.epa.gov/region9/marine-debris/faq.html
(September 17, 2012) Accessed August 5, 2013
56. International Maritime Organization, International Convention for the
Prevention of Pollution from Ships, http://www.imo.org/About/Conventions/
ListOfConventions/Pages/International-Convention-for-the-Prevention-ofPollution-from-Ships-(MARPOL).aspx ( 2013) Accessed August 1, 2013

STORMWATER RUNOFF

Pollutants enter the water in a variety of ways, but


most pollution inputs can be categorized as point
or nonpoint discharges.
Point sources of pollution introduce pollution into the
environment at a specific site or point. Point sources
of pollution are generally the easiest to identify, monitor
and regulate. Classic examples include industrial and
sewage or municipal outfall pipes. By law, point sources
of pollution are required to be registered and regulated
by federal, state and local laws.
By contrast, nonpoint source pollution comes from
a plethora of diffuse sources and is unconstrained or
unchannelled in movement. Nonpoint source pollution
is caused by water (typically rainfall or snowmelt) moving
over and through the ground. As the runoff moves,
it gathers natural and manufactured pollutants and
deposits them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters

Chapter 6 | Stormwater Runoff

WHAT IT IS AND WHERE IT COMES FROM

and even our underground drinking water reservoirs.57


Classic examples include storm drains and runoff from
parking lots, roadways or agricultural land.
Nonpoint sources are more difficult to measure, quantify
and regulate because they tend to be diffuse and widespread. In fact, nonpoint sources of water pollution are
virtually unregulated in the United States, even though
they are the leading cause of water quality problems.58,59
Stormwater runoff can pick up fertilizers and animal waste
from agricultural fields; grass clippings, litter and household
chemicals from urban and suburban streets; and oil and
other automotive substances from roadways and parking
lots. Erosion of upstream land also contributes tons of soil
to runoff, which eventually enters coastal waters.
In marinas, principal runoff pollutants come from parking
lots and hull maintenance areas. They include toxic metals
from boat hull scraping and sanding, other suspended
solids, organics (oil and grease), detergents, litter and bilge

47

waste. Improper debris and sewage disposal, oil and fuel


discharges, improper vessel maintenance and stormwater
runoff are all potential boating and marina-based nonpoint
pollution sources. Boaters and marina operators must
always be diligent in preventing even the smallest amounts
of pollutants from entering the water.

On the waters surface, a small amount of oil or


other petroleum products can contaminate a large
areaa single quart of oil can create a two-acre slick,
about the size of three football fields.

IMPACTS

Petroleum products like fuel, oil and other


engine wastes can reduce growth, alter feeding
behavior and lower the reproductive rates of
many aquatic organisms. In addition, these toxins foul
shorelines, pollute surface water, reduce light transmission and reduce oxygen exchange at the waters surface.
Fish and shellfish larvae are very sensitive to even very low
levels of petroleum compounds. Petroleum products also
contain toxic metals.

Polluted stormwater runoff can severely harm water


quality, wildlife and habitats, ultimately affecting local
economies. Although any single runoff event may be
small, it is the cumulative effect of many small inputs
that is so destructive.

IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT


Runoff from coastal and upstream erosion
carries sediment, or particles of minerals and
organic matter, into water bodies. When the runoff flow
is light, sediments quickly drop to the bottom, with the
densest and coarsest materials falling first. During times
of heavy water flow, sediment remains suspended in the
water. The finest sediments can remain suspended in
runoff for a very long time.
Excessive sediment in runoff creates several problems.
Suspended sediments can reduce water clarity, interfere
with animal respiration and digestion, and block the
sunlight that plants require for photosynthesis. Sediment
deposition can smother plant and animal life throughout
the water column, but especially on the bottom. Sediments
often contain heavy metals, pesticides and other pollutants.
Waterways, channels and marina basins can be filled
in by excess sediment, resulting in the need for increased
dredging and increases in dredge spoil disposal costs.

48

IMPACTS ON SPECIES

Nutrients, such as phosphorous and nitrogen, enter the


runoff stream through sewage, detergents, agricultural
and lawn fertilizers, animal waste and yard waste.
Small amounts of nutrients are necessary for the healthy
development of a natural ecosystem, but excessive
nutrients can disrupt the natural cycles of an ecosystem.
Algae are single-celled organisms that are the base of
most food chains in the aquatic environment. They use
light for photosynthesis to produce their food. Excessive
nutrients act as a fertilizer and stimulate algal growth,
creating what is called an algal bloom. Once the overabundant algae begin to naturally decay, decomposition
depletes the dissolved oxygen in the water, increasing the
amount of bacteria. This process, called eutrophication,
increases an ecosystems biological oxygen demand and
leads to foul odors and fish kills.
Toxic organics and heavy metals from industrial activities,
automobile emissions, boat cleaning, pesticide use and
illicit sewer connections can pollute stormwater runoff.
Toxic organics include pesticides and certain cleaning
chemicals. Heavy metals include lead, copper, zinc and
mercury from paints and batteries. Once in the water, toxins
do not degrade; they can persist in bottom sediment for
years. Toxins can accumulate in bottom-dwelling animals
and continue to increase in concentration as they move up
the food chain. Pesticides and other toxins cause genetic
defects, reproductive abnormalities and increased mortality
rates in sensitive animal species, especially waterfowl.
Human sewage and animal wastes introduce pathogens,
such as bacteria and viruses, into runoff. Contaminants
carried in runoff may pose a health risk through direct
exposure (swimming and other water-contact activities
in contaminated water) and through consumption of
contaminated shellfish. Pathogenic contaminants such
as streptococci, fecal coliform and other bacteria may
cause diarrhea, bacillary dysentery, acute gastroenteritis
and skin rashes. Children, the elderly and those with

IMPACTS ON THE ECONOMY


Since stormwater runoff contains fuels, oils,
sewage, litter and other pollutants, it affects the
economy in the same way these pollutants do individually.
An area degraded by litter, sewage, oil or chemical
pollution will lose tourists who want to vacation in a
pristine natural area. This in turn will hurt businesses
that rely on tourists, including hotels, restaurants,
chartered fishing boats and scuba/snorkeling tours.

weakened immune systems may have a more severe


reaction to sewage-contaminated water.
The most visible pollutants in stormwater runoff are small
pieces of trash, such as cigarette filters, bottle caps and
lids. Seabirds and other marine wildlife are known to eat
this trash, mistaking it for food. The trash can choke the
animal or accumulate in its digestive tract, causing the
animal to slowly starve.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT


Marinas and individual boaters must play a role in
reducing stormwater runoff pollution. Incorporating
best management practices into daily marina operations
and boating activities can help ensure environmentally
responsible behavior. The following are some best
management practices that boaters and marinas
can implement to reduce vessel operation damage.

Chapter 6 | Stormwater Runoff

Sewage runoff makes water look bad and smell worse.


Sewage pollution can hurt a communitys economy by
decreasing tourism and waterfront development. Medical
care and cleanup costs also become a factor when sewage
compromises human health and safety. In addition,
businesses lose revenue when shellfish bed and fishing
area closures suspend commercial and recreational
fishing activities.

49

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES


FOR BOATERS
Select non-toxic cleaning products that do not harm
humans or aquatic life.
Fuel boats carefully, recycle used oil and discard worn
motor parts into proper receptacles to prevent petroleum
spills. Keep boat and auto motors well-tuned to prevent
fuel and lubricant leaks and improve fuel economy.
Properly dispose of trash, including cigarette filters,
in onshore bins. Alert marina staff if bins are overflowing.

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES


FOR MARINAS
Structural Best Management Practices
Structural best management practices are excellent
environmental protection alternatives for marinas and
can be especially valuable in areas without access to
conventional water treatment systems or advanced
pollution prevention systems. These practices rely on two
different processes to treat runoff: filtration and detention.
(Structural best management practices may require a
state permit. Seek the advice of your state department
of environmental protection or department of natural
resources before proceeding.) You may want to consult
with a professional marina design engineer with
experience designing these types of structures.

Quick Review:
Stormwater Runoff
At marinas, storm drains can carry pollutants,
including toxic metals from boat hull scraping
and sanding, oil and grease, detergents, litter
and hazardous bilge waste, directly into the water.
Boaters
Use non-toxic cleaning products.
Discard worn motor parts carefully so oil doesnt
wash from them into storm drains.
Dispose of trash properly in onshore bins.
Marinas
Install buffer strips of vegetation or sand to filter
storm runoff.
Maintain storm drains and stencil messages
near them to remind boaters about the direct
connection to local waters.

50

Maintain proper functioning of all marina


equipment and inspect sewage disposal
facilities regularly.

Filtration practices use vegetation or sand near the marina


to reduce runoff impact by filtering and settling pollutants.
After being filtered, stormwater runoff can be routed into
drainage channels, guts or other water bodies. It can also
be left to evaporate or infiltrate the surrounding soil.
Types of filtration systems include:
Buffer strips: areas of vegetated land separating the
marinas operation areas from the water. They are
designed to filter sheet flow-type stormwater runoff.
They may resemble natural ecosystems, like grassy
meadows. The vegetative cover helps with sediment
settling and pollutant removal.
Grassed swales: shallow, vegetated ditches where
all runoff is directed for slow filtration. The bottom
elevation must be above the water table to allow
runoff to infiltrate the surrounding soil. The vegetation
prevents erosion, filters sediment and provides some
nutrient uptake. Instead of a ditch, a berm or other
barrier can sometimes be designed to route stormwater
flow to a grassed swale or other treatment area.
Sand filters: closed, self-contained sand beds where
stormwater runoff percolates downward to be collected
in underground pipes and reused for irrigation or
returned back to a drainage channel or gut. Enhanced
sand filters use layers of peat, limestone and/or topsoil.
Like buffer strips, they may also have a grass cover to
improve pollutant removal. A variation of this system
called sand trenches has been developed specifically
to treat parking lot runoff.
Detention practices settle and retain suspended solids
and associated pollutants. They temporarily impound
runoff to control its rates and velocities. All detention
practices use settling to remove particulates (sediments,
organic matter, etc.). Some detention practices include:
Extended detention ponds: temporarily detain a
percentage of stormwater runoff for up to 24 hours
after a storm, allowing solids and pollutants to settle
out. These ponds usually stay dry between storm events.
Constructed wetlands: engineered systems designed
to imitate the function of natural wetlands to treat and
contain stormwater runoff and to decrease pollutants
to coastal waters. They attempt to replicate all of the
functions of natural wetlands, including enhanced
wildlife habitat and scenic areas.
Other structural best management practices include
retention ponds that settle sediment before it reaches
the ocean. Runoff is channeled into these permanently
filled ponds and remains for an extended period of
time, allowing solid particles and pollutants to settle
to the bottom. The clearer water is then reintroduced
into the waterway.

Ensure all marina equipment functions properly


and monitor equipment for proper use. Inspect and
maintain sewage disposal facilities regularly.
Provide onshore restrooms and encourage their use.
Be sure they are adequate in number for your marina.
Maintain and clean them on a regular schedule.
Implement xeriscape: landscape that uses native,
drought-tolerant vegetation. Conserve water by watering
only as needed. Water at night to minimize evaporation
and direct sprinklers to grassy areas, not the pavement.
Use water-based paints in place of more toxic, oil-based
paints for parking lots and other landscaping needs.
Keep storm drains properly maintained and cleaned.
Stencil messages near storm drain inlets on your
property to educate boaters about the direct link
between storm drains and nearby waters.
Contact the National Response Center at (800)4248802 if you see any boat not complying with water
pollution regulations. You may also contact the local
environmental enforcement office for information
on local water pollution regulations.

REGULATIONS
For more information on these and other laws
governing water pollution and other water-related issues,
see Appendix C.

CLEAN WATER ACT


In 1972, Congress passed the Federal Water Pollution
Control Act, commonly referred to as the Clean Water
Act. The Clean Water Acts mission was to restore and
maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of
the nations waters. This legislation established a permit
system to limit industrial and municipal discharges and to
protect wetlands. States were also required to adopt waste
quality standards with federal government oversight.

Chapter 6 | Stormwater Runoff

NON-STRUCTURAL BEST MANAGEMENT


PRACTICES

Section 402 (33 USC 1342) of the National Pollutant


Discharge Elimination System Program makes it illegal
for municipal and industrial facilities to discharge
pollutants into navigable waters without an authorized
permit. The Environmental Protection Agency or a
designated state agency issues permits and discharge
reports are made available to the government and public.
Section 319 (33 USC 1329) requires states to assess
and develop control programs for nonpoint sources.
It authorized the Environmental Protection Agency
to approve state management programs to provide
implementation grants.
Under section 6217 of the 1990 amendments to the Clean
Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency and the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
developed guidance specifying management measures
for nonpoint source pollution affecting coastal waters.

51

RESOURCES AND CONTACTS


SOLID WASTE AND RECYCLING
INFORMATION
Call the local public works or solid waste operations
department if you have questions about the disposal of
solid waste, used oil, household chemicals or questions
about recycling.

XERISCAPING
Contact your local agricultural cooperative extension
service to learn more about landscaping your property
with native vegetation to conserve water and reduce
stormwater pollution. You can also contact the
Department of Agricultures Natural Resources
Conservation Service at: www.nrcs.usda.gov.

STORM DRAIN STENCILING


For information on how you can stencil storm drains,
visit the EPAs storm drain-marking fact sheet at:
http://1.usa.gov/bhpFjk.

TO REPORT POLLUTION OR SEWAGE SPILLS


Notify the National Response Center at (800)424-8802
if you observe any boat not complying with water pollution
regulations.

TO REPORT A FISH KILL


If you discover a fish kill, report it to your states
department of fish and wildlife.
Visit the following websites for more information
on stormwater runoff pollution and prevention:

Ocean Conservancy
www.oceanconservancy.org/do-your-part/green-boating/

U.S. Coast Guard


www.uscg.mil
www.homeport.uscg.mil

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary


www.cgaux.org

U.S. Power Squadron


www.usps.org

52

REFERENCES
57. Environmental Protection Agency. Polluted Runoff: Nonpoint Source
Pollution, http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/index.cfm (May 9, 2013)
Accessed August 5, 2013
58. Environmental Protection Agency. Nonpoint Source: Introduction
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/nonpoin1.cfm (March 6, 2012)
Accessed August 5, 2013
59. Environmental Protection Agency. What is Nonpoint Source
Pollution? http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/whatis.cfm
(August 27, 2012) Accessed August 5, 2013

VESSEL OPERATION DAMAGE

Vessel operation damage occurs whenever a boater


damages the environment through improper handling,
irresponsible use or neglect of a vessel. Improper
anchoring, operating in shallow water, running aground
in a sensitive area, operating without regard to wildlife,
and neglecting or improperly maintaining a vessel to the
point where it sinks are all examples of vessel operation
damage. The effects can be costly.
All boat owners are responsible for assuring that their
boats are seaworthy. An un-seaworthy vessel threatens
passenger safety and also poses an environmental hazard.
Neglected or unmaintained vessels are at greater risk of
sinking and releasing fuel, oil, sewage and toxic chemicals
into the water.
An additional problem is the introduction of invasive
species. Invasive species are non-native plants or animals
that enter a new ecosystem and cause harm or damage to

natural resources and the economy. There are many ways


that invasive species (also known as aquatic nuisance
species) can be introduced into a new environment.
Ships can spread invasive species when they discharge
ballast water or when species hitchhike on traveling
vessels. People contribute to the problem when they
release unwanted exotic aquarium species or discard
unused live bait into the water.

Chapter 7 | Vessel Operation Damage

WHAT IT IS AND WHERE IT COMES FROM

Although some species may not survive such a transition,


many actually thrive, since they often lack natural predators
in their new environments. As a result, they are often free
to reproduce unchecked. Once they are established, it is
very difficult to control their proliferation. Invasive species
can also prey voraciously on native marine life, permanently
altering the ecosystem. The zebra mussel, European ruffe,
round goby and lionfish are examples of species that have
recently infiltrated U.S. waters.

55

KNOW YOUR WATER COLORS


Use these helpful reminders to aid you in avoiding
water that is too shallow.
Brown, Brown, Run Aground: Bottom formations
that grow close to the waters surface and
shallow aquatic grass beds will make the water
appear brown. Such areas should be avoided
to keep from running aground and damaging
both your boat and these sensitive habitats.
White, White, You Might: Sandbars and shallow
rubble areas appear white. These areas can be
deceiving and may be much shallower than they
appear. Navigate with caution around these areas.
Green, Green, Nice and Clean: Green water
usually indicates areas free of shallow areas or
aquatic grass beds. Navigation of small, shallow
draft boats in these areas is generally safe.
However, larger shallow draft boats should
exercise caution. All boaters should carry and
consult current and corrected copies of appropriate marine charts.
Blue, Blue, Cruise on Through: Deep-water areas,
such as the ocean side of a reef, may appear
blue. Navigation in these areas is free from
hazardous contact with reefs or aquatic grass
beds. Remember, however, that reefs and rocks
rise abruptly from deep water, so give yourself
plenty of room to maneuver.60

IMPACTS
IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
A metal anchor and dragging chain set down
in a sensitive habitat can gouge and abrade
sea grass beds and coral reefs. An improperly laid anchor
can also dredge damaging rifts into the bottom, uprooting
and destroying important plants that serve as feeding and
nesting grounds for thousands of aquatic species.
Navigating a vessel through shallow waters can
cause significant environmental damage and pose
safety hazards. As boats travel into shallow water, their
propellers may cut into sea grass beds, often trenching
the bottom, removing all grass blades, rhizomes
(underground stems with roots) and even sediment.
This is particularly true of personal watercraft that use
powerful water jet propulsion systems.
Underwater damage caused by a single anchor or
propeller may seem rather smalla small nick in an
aquatic grass bed or coral reef. However, the combined
effect of these scratches and nicks can be quite dramatic.
Sea grass will seldom regrow in exposed sandy scars,
and damaged coral often invites disease, which further
damages the reef.
Excessive wake in sensitive areas such as bays, rivers
and lakes can damage shorelines and nearshore habitats.
An uncontrolled wake can damage sensitive water plants
and erode or even collapse entire embankments. The
force of an uncontrolled boat wake can also heavily
damage shoreline docks and moored boats and injure
people along the shoreline as well.

IMPACTS ON SPECIES

56

Kevin Miller

Traveling at high speeds in shallow waters


stirs up bottom sediments. Such turbulence
not only affects aquatic plants and bottomdwelling organisms, but it also impairs a boaters ability
to see sandbars, submerged obstacles, dangerous shoals
or surfacing animals, such as manatees, sea otters and
sea turtles.
Besides the risk of physical injury, there are also risks
associated with encounters between boaters and animals.
Disturbing animals forces them to flee the area, possibly
interrupting feeding or sleeping and causing them to
expend valuable energy. Any activity that forces a
protected or endangered animal to change its behavior
is considered harassment and is illegal (see Chapter 7
Regulations or Appendix C for more information).
Protected species in the United States include migratory
waterfowl (ducks, geese, swans, egrets, herons),
river otters, beavers, whales and dolphins, seals
and sea lions, sea turtles, sea otters and manatees.

IMPACTS ON THE ECONOMY


Operating a boat in shallow water can be
costly. Sand and gravel churned from the
bottom can damage a boats engine. A grounded boat
can have costly propeller damage or hull damage. And
damage from excessive boat wakes can cause extensive
shoreline property damage.
An invasive species influx can have significant economic
impacts. By altering the environment, invasive species
can deplete populations of commercially valuable native
species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that
the zebra musselan invasive species known for clogging
intake pipes for drinking water, power generation and
industrial facilitiescost the Great Lakes region about
$5 billion in removal and nuisance control measures
from 2000-2010.61

Marinas and individual boaters must play a role in


reducing vessel operation damage. Incorporating best
management practices into daily marina operations
and boating activities can help ensure environmentally
responsible behavior. The following are some best
management practices that boaters and marinas
can implement to reduce vessel operation damage.

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES


FOR BOATERS

Observing Marine Life


It is important that boaters know the restrictions on
interacting with wildlife and that they follow proper
wildlife interaction procedures when dealing with marine
mammals and sea turtles.
As a rule, boaters should always slow their boat when
approaching wildlife. Maintaining a safe distance of
100 yards from marine wildlife is generally the rule
(500 yards is required for the highly endangered
northern right whale). However, you should always
check state and local regulations.
It is illegal under federal law to feed, harass, molest
or injure marine mammals such as whales, dolphins,
manatees or sea otters. Anyone witnessing such actions
is asked to report the incident to the U.S. Coast Guard
or local marine police as soon as possible. See Resources
and Contacts.

Invasive Species
Worldwide, most invasive species enter waterways
through the uptake and discharge of ballast water from
ships. However, recreational boaters can also spread
exotic species when boats or equipment are moved from
one body of water to another or unused bait is dumped
into the water.

Become Better Educated


As a boat owner and operator, you have a responsibility
to yourself, your passengers and the environment to know
how to properly and safely operate your vessel. There are
numerous boating operation and safety courses available
to the public. The best resources for boating safety
education are the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S.
Power Squadron, your state boating departments and
various boating organizations. These courses offer
training in vessel operation, navigation, proper emergency
procedures, safety equipment, pollution control and
proper vessel maintenance.

To avoid these invasions, adopt the following procedures:


When leaving the water, inspect your boat and remove
all hitchhiking animal and plant life from the hull,
trailer, propeller, intake areas and all equipment.

Chapter 7 | Vessel Operation Damage

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

If in a larger vessel, radio, call or hail for assistance


or a tow. Have the phone number or monitored radio
frequency of your local tow service readily available
on your boat.

Avoiding the shallows is one easy way to protect you,


sensitive bottom habitats and sea grass ecosystems.
Since these shallow, sensitive habitats may grow within
inches of the waters surface (whether inland or offshore),
avoiding them can be tricky. Fortunately, the color of the
water can give you a good indication of what is below the
surface (on page 56).
If you should run aground, DO NOT try to motor your way
out! If in a small boat, use a paddle or an oar to pole your
way out in the direction from which the boat entered.

57

Drain and flush the engine cooling system, live wells,


bilge and bait buckets with very hot water if possible.
If hot water is not available, use fresh water.

Regularly inspect your boats through-hull fittings,


such as the depth finder transponder and cooling
water intakes, for leakage to reduce the risk of sinking.

Rinse your boat and all areas that get wet (including
trailer frames and wheels, safety light compartments,
decking and the lower portion of the motor cooling
system) with fresh water. DO NOT use salt and/or
chlorine water mixtures. Runoff of these mixtures could
enter the waterway, where they would be harmful to
native organisms. Also, these mixtures can damage
boat equipment.

Always conduct a visual inspection of your boat after a


particularly hard rain. Accumulated rain in the bilge can
quickly overburden a bilge pump system and cause the
vessel to sink.

Air-dry your boat and other equipment three to five


days before using in a new water body. Some invasive
species, like the zebra mussel, can live for at least 48
hours out of water.
DO NOT dump unused bait or its packaging material
into the water. While bait may be bought locally,
it is often shipped in from farther away.

Maintain a Seaworthy Vessel


A sinking vessel not only poses a great safety risk to its
passengers, but an unmanned vessel sinking at its dock
or anchorage can result in a substantial introduction of fuel,
oil and chemicals into the water. As a result, you should:

Quick Review: Vessel Operation


Boaters
Anchors aweigh: Choose anchor sites carefully
and use proper techniques to avoid damaging
sensitive habitat.
Avoid boating in shallow water, where you can
stir up sediments and disturb underwater
habitatnot to mention damage your propeller,
hull and engine if you run aground.
Know where to go slow to prevent
shore-damaging wakes.
Marinas
Maintain up-to-date charts.
Alert boaters to sensitive habitats in your area,
protected species they may encounter and the
potential dangers of invasive species.
Conduct visual inspections of all vessels in your
marina to identify those posing pollution threats.

58

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR


MARINAS
Marinas should maintain current charts; alert boaters to
sensitive habitats in the area, protected species they may
encounter and safe-distance requirements; and inform
them of the potential dangers of invasive species. Marina
operators should also conduct a visual inspection of all
vessels in their marina to spot any that appear to be
neglected or pose a threat of sinking or polluting the
surrounding waters.

REGULATIONS
For more information on these and other laws governing
water pollution and other water-related issues, see
Appendix C.

ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT


The Endangered Species Act prohibits the catching,
collecting, transporting, harming or killing of any animal
or plant species designated as endangered or threatened.
For a complete list of endangered and threatened species,
visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services website at
http://endangered.fws.gov/wildlife.html.

MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT


The Marine Mammal Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 1361)
prohibits the harassment of endangered or threatened
marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins, seals, sea
lions, sea otters and manatees.

Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force


www.anstaskforce.gov

USCG Recreational Boating Information


www.uscgboating.org/

National Invasive Species Council


www.invasivespecies.gov

Chapter 7 | Vessel Operation Damage

RESOURCES AND CONTACTS

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary


www.cgaux.org

Visit the following websites for more information on


environmentally safe vessel operation:

U.S. Power Squadron


www.usps.org

Ocean Conservancy
www.oceanconservancy.org/do-your-part/green-boating/

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Navigational Charts
www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/staff/chartspubs.html

National Association of State Boating Law


Administrators
www.nasbla.org

Boating Safety Resource Center


www.uscgboating.org/safety/default.aspx

Local Boating Guides


Available through your local marina or bookshop.

U.S. Coast Guard


www.uscg.mil
www.homeport.uscg.mil

REFERENCES
60. Originally sourced to Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary,
date unknown.
61. U.S. Geological Survey, Zebra Mussels Cause Economic and
Ecological Problems in the Great Lakes http://www.glsc.usgs.gov/_files/
factsheets/2000-6%20Zebra%20Mussels.pdf (July 2011) Accessed
August 2, 2013

59

APPENDIX

A-B-C

APPENDIX A:
NATIONAL RESPONSE CENTER
In or along U.S. navigable waters
The National Response Center (NRC) is the single point
of contact for reporting oil and chemical spills. U.S. Coast
Guard personnel maintain the NRC telephone watch 24
hours per day, 365 days per year. NRC watch-standers enter
pollution incident reports into the Incident Reporting
Information System and immediately relay each report
to the pre-designated Federal On-Scene Coordinators.

On the Outer Continental Shelf


In a deep-water port
From a vessel transporting oil from the Outer
Continental Shelf

Chemical Releases
If you have a spill to report, call the NRC toll-free at
(800)424-8802 or (202)267-2675, or submit an online
incident report via the NRC website at www.uscg.mil.

REPORTING AN INCIDENT
When any of the following incidents occur, the responsible
party should immediately contact the NRC via the toll-free
number. If you see or discover an oil spill or release of
chemicals and are NOT the responsible party, you should
contact the NRC with whatever information you have.
Once contacted, the NRC Duty Officer will guide the
caller through a series of questions based on the Standard
Report Form to gather as much information as possible
concerning the spill or release.

Reporting a Recreational Boating Accident


Under Title 33 CFR 173-4, the operator of any recreational
vessel must report any accident that results in:
Loss of life
Personal injury that requires treatment beyond first aid
Damage to the vessel and other property exceeding $500
Complete loss of the vessel
Boat operators are required to report their accidents
to the authorities in the states where the accident
occurred. Should you witness an accident, report it
as soon as possible to the nearest authority to ensure
a timely response by rescue and pollution personnel.

Oil Spills
Section 311(b)(5) of the Federal Water Pollution Control
Act requires that the responsible party notify the NRC
as soon as knowledgeable of an oil spill from a vessel
or facility operating:

Transportation Accidents
The carrier must report transportation accidents
involving hazardous materials, including radioactive
substances, immediately to the NRC when, as a direct
result of the materials:
A person is killed
A person receives injuries requiring hospitalization
Property damage exceeds $50,000
Fire, breakage or spillage of an etiologic agency occurs
Further details can be found in 49 CFR 171.15.

WHAT INFORMATION DOES THE NRC NEED?


Who you are:
Your name, address and phone number.
The name, address and phone number of the responsible
party, if known (anonymous calls are accepted).

Appendix A | National Response Center

The following is an abbreviated version of the information


available on the NRC website. Additional information on
reporting requirements and procedures are also housed
on the site.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response,


Compensation and Liability Act requires that all releases
of hazardous substances exceeding reportable quantities
be reported by the responsible party to the NRC.

What happened:
What material was released?
How much was released?
Where it happened:
City, county, state
Location, nearest street corner or landmark
When it happened:
When did it happen?
When did you discover it?

63

Why it happened:
How did it happen?
What caused the discharge?
Even if you dont have all of the above information,
you should still call the NRC. You might be providing
the first indication that a major incident has occurred.

NRC RESPONSIBILITIES
In addition to gathering and distributing spill data for
Federal On-Scene Coordinators and serving as the
communications and operations center for the National
Response Team, the NRC maintains agreements with
a variety of federal entities to make additional notifications
regarding incidents meeting established trigger criteria.
Details on the NRC organization and specific responsibilities
can be found in the National Oil and Hazardous Substances
Pollution Contingency Plan [300.125(a)], also known as the
National Contingency Plan.
The data collected by the NRC is made available to the
general public under the Freedom of Information Act and can
now be queried online via the website (www.nrc.uscg.mil).
Detailed data searches can be filed at a nominal charge by
mailing your request to:
National Response Center
c/o United States Coast Guard
2100 2nd Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20593-0001
ATTN: FOIA

RESOURCES
National Response Center
www.nrc.uscg.mil

40 CFR 300National Oil and Hazardous


Substances Pollution Contingency Plan
http://1.usa.gov/14yWekB

64

APPENDIX B:
MAINTAINING BOAT SAFETY EQUIPMENT
A MINIMUM RECOMMENDED
LIST OF BOAT SAFETY EQUIPMENT
COURTESY OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD
BOATING SAFETY DIVISION

Personal Flotation DevicesUSCG approved, in good


and serviceable condition; one wearable of the appropriate size for each person on board, stowed in a readily
accessible manner; and a throwable device (if required)
stowed in an immediately available location.
Visual Distress Signals1) Pyrotechnic devices
(flares, smoke) U.S. Coast Guard approved, not expired
and in good and serviceable condition; in sufficient
number; and stowed in a readily accessible manner.
2) Non-pyrotechnic devices (day flag, night auto SOS
lantern) U.S. Coast Guard certified, in good and
serviceable condition; with batteries in good charge
(lantern); and stowed in a readily accessible manner.
Fire ExtinguishersU.S. Coast Guard approved, in
good and serviceable condition; properly charged as
per the gauge; of appropriate size and type for length
of vessel (B-I or B-II). Recommended mounting:
outside entrance to galley and engine room spaces.
Ventilation (for enclosed machinery with gasoline as its
fuel)All vent hoses and cowls are free of obstruction;
vent hose has no holes or tears; exhaust hose is above
the normal level of bilge water; blower (if fitted) is
operable; and all wiring is free of cuts and abrasions.

Navigation RulesIf required, have a book for ready


reference. It is recommended that you maintain an
updated copy, as rules change from time to time.
State and/or Local RequirementsBe sure to check
for any additional safety requirements through your
state and local boating agencies.
USCG Auxiliary Vessel Safety CheckTo ensure
that your vessel is truly ready for the water, have a
free Vessel Safety Check conducted by your local U.S.
Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadron.
This vessel safety check is a courtesy examination of
safety equipment carried or installed on a vessel and
certain aspects of the vessels overall condition. These
requirements parallel federal and state requirements
with regard to equipment and vessel condition. If the
vessel meets or exceeds the requirements, the examiner
will award the owner or operator a Vessel Safety Check
decal. The Vessel Safety Check is not a law enforcement
action and is not conducted by, nor is any information
obtained or provided to, any law enforcement organization. It is a free public service provided in the interest
of boating safety.

Appendix B | Maintaining Boat Safety Equipment

At the beginning of each boating season, every owner of


a recreational boat should conduct a thorough inspection
of his or her boat and all of its equipment prior to the first
outing. This will ensure a fun and safe boating season.
The following is the minimum equipment to be inspected
for most boats.

Navigation LightCheck all lights to ensure they burn


bright and clear, are free of obstruction, lenses are of
the appropriate color (red for portside and green for
starboard side) and not cracked. Check all positions of
light switch to make sure the lights displayed agree with
the switch positions.

Backfire Flame Control (for gasoline engines only)


USCG, SAE or UL approved, external mounted
device should fit tightly to carburetor and be free
of damage. If fitted re-breather hoses are connected,
device should be free of dirt and oil buildup for more
efficient engine operation.
Sound Producing Devices and BellsIf required,
ensure horn emits a clear audible sound, horn bells
are free of water and obstructions, and portable horns
using canned propellant are full. For mouth-operated
horn, make sure you can make a constant sound for
at least six seconds in duration. It is recommended
to have at least one backup device, such as a police
whistle. For a bell, if required, ensure clapper is
attached to bell and the bell emits a clear, bell-like tone.

65

APPENDIX C:
LAWS AND AGREEMENTS GOVERNING WATER POLLUTION
The following is a list of major laws or agreements
governing the disposal of wastes into U.S. waters and
other water-related issues. The particular relevance of
some of these laws to recreational boating is addressed
in previous chapters, but boaters and marina staff should
be aware of how these laws affect or regulate boating
operations and where to find more information.

CLEAN AIR ACT (CAA)


The CAA regulates air emissions from area, stationary
and mobile sources. The law authorizes the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency to establish national
Ambient Air Quality Standards to protect public health
and the environment. For more information, visit
www.epa.gov/air/caa/.

ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT (ESA)


The ESA provides a program for the conservation of
threatened and endangered plants, animals and the
habitats in which they are found. For more information,
visit www.fws.gov/endangered/laws-policies/, www.fws.
gov/endangered/laws-policies/esa.html and www.nmfs.
noaa.gov/pr/laws/esa/.

FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION CONTROL ACT


(FWPCA)
Now known primarily as the Clean Water Act, the FWPCA
was the first major U.S. law to address water pollution.
It established goals and policies for the restoration and
maintenance of the chemical, physical and biological
integrity of U.S. waters. For more information, visit
www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/fwatrpo.html.

CLEAN VESSEL ACT (CVA)


The CVA was designed to reduce pollution from vessel
sewage discharge. The act established a federal grant
program to fund the construction, renovation, operation
and maintenance of pump-out facilities at local marinas.
For more information, visit www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/
clenves.html.

CLEAN WATER ACT (CWA)


The CWA was a significant expansion of the Federal Water
Pollution Control Act (FWPCA). CWA focuses on the use,
discharge and disposal of sewage, oil and hazardous
substances (including dispersants). For more information,
visit http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/
summary-clean-water-act.

COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT (CZMA)


The CZMA encourages states to preserve, protect, develop
andwhere possiblerestore or enhance valuable
natural coastal resources such as wetlands, floodplains,
estuaries, beaches, dunes, barrier islands and coral reefs
(as well as the fish and wildlife using those habitats). For
more information, visit http://coastalmanagement.noaa.
gov/czm/czm_act.html, www.epa.gov/agriculture/lzma.
html and www.boem.gov/Environmental-Stewardship/
Environmental-Assessment/CZMA/index.aspx.

66

MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT


(MMPA)
The MMPA establishes a moratorium on taking and
importing marine mammals, their parts and products.
The act provides protection for a variety of marine wildlife
species including polar bears, sea otters, walruses,
dugongs, manatees, whales, porpoises, seals and sea
lions. For more information, visit www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/
laws/mmpa/.

MARPOL 73/78
Known formally as the International Convention for the
Prevention of Pollution from Ships at Sea (MARINE
POLLUTION), MARPOL 73/78 is the primary international
convention that addresses pollution prevention from
ships into the ocean. Originally signed and drafted in
1973 by a number of seafaring countries through the
International Maritime Organization (IMO), MARPOL
was updated in 1978 to include five annexes on ocean
dumping, with an annex on air pollution by ships added
in 1997. Current annexes cover the following:
Annex I . . . . . . . . . Oil
Annex II. . . . . . . . . Hazardous liquid carried in bulk
Annex III. . . . . . . . Hazardous substances carried in
packaged form
Annex IV. . . . . . . . Sewage
Annex V. . . . . . . . . Garbage
Annex VI. . . . . . . . Air pollution

When a country ratifies MARPOL 73/78, it automatically


adopts Annexes I and II; the remaining annexes are
optional. The United States has ratified optional Annexes
III and V. For more information, visit www.imo.org/About/
Conventions/ListOfConventions/Pages/InternationalConvention-for-the-Prevention-of-Pollution-from-Ships(MARPOL).aspx.

RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND


RECOVERY ACT (RCRA)
RCRA addresses the issue of how to safely manage and
dispose of the large volumes of municipal and industrial
waste generated in the United States. For more information, visit http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/
summary-resource-conservation-and-recovery-act.

MARINE PLASTIC POLLUTION RESEARCH


AND CONTROL ACT (MPPRCA) (1987)
PHOTO CREDITS
Cover: Deck Boat Laura Clay-Ballard: iStockphotos
iii: Miami Marina Roberto A Sanchez: iStockphotos
Close Pass GuyNichollsPhotography: iStockphotos
Aerial Sailboat Sailing Kevin Miller: iStockphotos
Sailboat Matjaz Boncina: iStockphotos
Fill the Oil Allkindza: iStockphotos

NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARIES ACT


(NMSA)
The NMSA protects special marine resources, including
coral reefs, sunken historical vessels or unique habitats,
while facilitating any and all compatible public and
private uses of said resources. For more information,
visit http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/about/legislation/
welcome.html.

Jet Skis jacomstephens: iStockphotos


1. Yachts at Busy Marina Photurist: iStockphotos
2. Family Fun: iStockphotos
3. Oil Spill Protection Boom MivPiv: iStockphotos
5. Jupiter Unlimited: iStockphotos
6. Floating Oil Pollution Boom Barrier in Harbor Adam Bennie: iStockphotos
7. Tom McCann: Ocean Conservancy
8. Dirty Storm Drain Paule858: iStockphotos
11. Fueling a Small Craft Dave Logan: iStockphotos
13. Boat Gas Station onfilm: iStockphotos
14. Oil Pollution Vladimir Arndt: iStockphotos

OIL POLLUTION ACT (OPA)


OPA (also known as OPA 90) requires reporting and
cleanup of all oil and hazardous substance spills.
For more information, visit http://www2.epa.gov/
laws-regulations/summary-oil-pollution-act.

16. Removing Boat Drain Plug BanksPhotos: iStockphotos


17. Oil Spill Boom Dave Logan: iStockphotos
19. Gas Station on Dock Matsou: iStockphotos
21. Warning Sign Near Dry Dock PhilAugustavo: iStockphotos
23. Sewage Water Pollution Microgen: iStockphotos
25. Coast Guard Harbor Security Vessel Brad Martin: iStockphotos
27. Water Spout Out of Pipe JacobH: iStockphotos
29. Cleaning the Boat timosbornephoto: iStockphotos

ORGANOTIN ANTI-FOULING PAINT


CONTROL ACT (OAPCA)

31. Luxury Yacht senaiaksoy: iStockphotos

The OAPCA regulates the use and application of


anti-fouling paint for some marine vessels. For more
information, visit www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/
organon.html.

35. Barnacles and Mussels clubfoto: iStockphotos

32. Boat Worker perkins07: iStockphotos


33. Washing Service gaspr13: iStockphotos

36. Propeller GDragan: iStockphotos


37. Cleaning a Ship isabel tiessen pastor: iStockphotos
39. Underwater Garbage zwo5de: iStockphotos
41. Drift by the Waves aviron: iStockphotos
43. Plastic Bag John_Galt111: iStockphotos

PORT AND WATERWAYS SAFETY ACT (PWSA)

45. No Dumping Sign JulieVMac: iStockphotos


47. Sewer MarieAppert: iStockphotos

The PWSA states that navigation and vessel safety and


protection of the marine environment are matters of
major national importance. It insures that the handling
of dangerous articles and substances on the structures in,
on or immediately adjacent to U.S. navigable waterways
is conducted in accordance with established standards
and requirements. For more information, visit www.law.
cornell.edu/uscode/text/33/1221 and www.csc.noaa.gov/
legislativeatlas/lawDetails.jsp?lawID=841.

Appendix C | Laws and Agreements Governing Water Pollution

The MPPRCA, which amended the Act to Prevent Pollution


from Ships (APPS), implements Annex V of MARPOL
73/78, restricting the overboard discharge of plastic and
other garbage. For more information, visit www.csc.noaa.
gov/legislativeatlas/lawDetails.jsp?lawID=730

48. Oily Geese Shane Hansen: iStockphotos


49. Burst Sewerage Pipe Chris_Westwood: iStockphotos
Oil Pollution iznashih: iStockphotos
51. Harbor Oil Spill Absorbant Boom adam bennie: iStockphotos
53. Sunken Boat from Hurricane Katrina cpurser: iStockphotos
55. Boat Repairs Georgethefourth: iStockphotos
56. Aerial Sailboat Sailing Kevin Miller: iStockphotos
57. Sunken Treasure prestongeorge: iStockphotos
59. Wirebrushing andrej67: iStockphotos
61. Boat Jirkab: iStockphotos

67

Ocean Conservancy
1300 19th street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202)429-5609

2014 Ocean Conservancy